Concurrent polls fine – Taib


KUCHING: The Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) is willing to accommodate any request from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to hold the state and general elections simultaneously.

ALL EARS: Taib (right) stresses a point to Shafie after the meeting as Abdul Wahab looks on.

Sarawak BN chairman Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, in stating this yesterday, said he could get along with such a request if there was a need for it.

“If the general elections were held soon, I could get along… (or) accommodate it. It is alright (to hold both elections simultaneously),” he said when interviewed at his residence – Demak Jaya – at Jalan Bako here.

Earlier, he had a meeting with Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal. Taib, however, was quick to point out that his comment should not be misconstrued to mean that the general elections would be held soon.

“I don’t decide on the general elections for the nation because it (the decision) is made by the prime minister,” he said.

He said if Najib had decided to hold the general elections soon, then it would be better for both parties to sit down to thoroughly discuss the possibility.

“If he (Najib) has the inspiration to hold the (general) elections soon, it is probably better (for both parties) to synchronise it (with the state election) …  and probably (have) simultaneous elections,” said Taib, who is also Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president and chief minister.

Shafie, meanwhile, said he met Taib to discuss ways of improving the cooperation between the state and his ministry to ensure problems could be ironed out smoothly.

He said some might not realise that many development projects had been implemented in the state, including houses which were built under a programme of the ministry, adding that this was probably due to the fact that the settlements were scattered  over the state.

Shafie said the meeting also touched on ways to help the rural people to earn a higher income.

“We discussed ways or methods of providing infrastructure and other facilities to ensure the rural people can increase their income,” he added.

Rural Development Assistant Minister Datuk Abdul Wahab Aziz was also present.