February 22, 2013
Sarawak's future brighter under Taib as he has yet to exploit its resources to take the state forward, says prime minister.
KUCHING: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak yesterday made it very clear that he wants Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud to continue to lead the Sarawak state government.
“Sarawak has tremendous potential to become a developed state. It has yet to exploit its resources. What you need is someone like Taib so that Sarawak will enjoy a brighter future.
“What you need is a BN state government under his leadership,” Najib told a crowd of about 10,000 at a Chap Goh Meh dinner at MJC Batu Kawah, here, last night.
“We will work closely with the state government. My promise and my commitment is that when Malaysia becomes fully developed, Sarawak will also become fully developed,” he said.
His endorsement of Taib to lead the state comes in the wake of speculation that the chief minister may be pressured by the BN leadership to step down before the general election.
Taib marks his 32nd year as chief minister on March 26, last year, and has been blamed for the loss of 13 Chinese majority seats in the last state election and one parliamentary seat in a by-election.
Taib had promised to step down several times but until now there is no sign of him doing so.
There are still some who want the prime minister to pressure Taib to step down as they fear his continued leadership would affect Sarawak United People’s Party’s (SUPP) performance in the coming election.
SUPP, which has been allocated seven parliamentary seats, is in danger of losing six – Bandar Kuching, Stampin, Sarikei, Sibu, Lanang and Miri to the opposition.
Bandar Kuching and Sibu are being held by DAP.
Najib: We will help the Chinese
Najib made no mention about Taib stepping down. Instead, he wants him to continue to lead because he feels Taib can deliver at least 20 of 31 parliamentary seats to the BN.
He reminded SUPP leaders that they must be united and put aside their personal differences, especially as the coming general election would be a litmus test for the party.
“SUPP must be united and its leaders must put aside their personal differences and become one unit,” he said in reference to the current bickering among SUPP leaders.
Peter Chin, SUPP president, is heading one faction in the party, while Wong Soon Koh, SUPP Sibu chairman, lead the other. In Wong’s camp, there are five state assemblymen and one MP.
They have been at loggerheads since the party’s triennial delegates’ conference in December 2011.
The absence of Wong and his group at the function was a clear indication of the seriousness of their bickering which could undermine the party’s performance in the coming election.
Najib, who must have noticed it, said: “Only with the unity of SUPP can you command the respect and support of the Chinese community.
“I would like SUPP to play its part. May you rise to the challenge and think of the future of Malaysia, BN and SUPP as a party in the true spirit of Chinese New Year celebration.
“For us, we will respond accordingly. We will do as much as we can to help the Chinese community,” added Najib.