SIBU: Sarawak, almost the size of the Peninsula, has never been sidelined in terms of development as seen by the big chunk of allocation given under National Key Result Areas (NKRA).
BN leaders here in refuting opposition’s allegation that the state had been neglected in terms of development, cited the frequent visits to the state by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to personally feel and monitor the progress of development in Sarawak.
This, they collectively pointed out, spoke volumes about Najib giving priority to development of the state, adding that the opposition front was hard pressed by their lack of issues to harp on.
Taking a swipe at the opposition, they said their unkind remarks were merely sweeping statements made to confuse the people.
“NKRA is evidence of the prime minister giving priority to the development of infrastructure in Sarawak and Sabah as both states received the biggest allocations, almost the same as the whole of the Peninsula.
“Never in the history of Sarawak have we seen a prime minister so dedicated to helping Sarawak develop its infrastructure.
“I am sure that Sarawakians, especially rural voters, will register their gratitude this coming 13th general election,” Selangau MP and Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Joseph Entulu said yesterday.
He was reacting to DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang’s statement during an election-related campaign in Mas Gading last week that after 49 years in Malaysia, Sarawak still faced problems, including that of infrastructure.
Entulu, who is Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) deputy president, responded: “Countries such as India for instance, which got their independence much earlier than Malaysia, are still improving on their infrastructure.
“That is why Malaysia is called a developing country. The fact is Sarawak has gone far in the improvement of its infrastructure, and is still continuously improving.
“That is why Sarawak’s rural development cannot afford to be politicised.”
Asajaya assemblyman Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah concurred that Najib’s frequent visits to Sarawak reflected his care and concern for the state.
He said Sarawakians should reciprocate by supporting him in his endeavour to bring progress to Malaysia.
“The opposition definitely find him a threat in their attempts to take over the government and will always try to show that the federal government has neglected the state’s development.
“On the other hand, what good things have the opposition ever said about Malaysia and the present government? They are an ungrateful and unappreciative lot who only know how to criticise, criticise, and criticise!” said Abdul Karim, who is Assistant Minister of Youth Development.
He added: “Even if we do things that are good, they will find ways and means to find fault to make it look that the programmes are failures.”
SUPP Sibu branch vice-chairman Daniel Ngieng stressed that Najib had lived up to his slogan of ‘people first, performance now’.
He said the prime minister’s frequent visits to Sarawak reflected his concern for Sarawak and his commitment to bring about more development.
“He (Najib) frequently comes to see, feel and monitor the progress in Sarawak,” said Ngieng.
He opined that the opposition’s action glaringly reflected that they were desperate, feeling the pinch of running out of issues to harp on for their political mileage.
This was because BN had done a good job in bringing about development to Sarawak and its people, he added.
Najib is coming here this Saturday, when he will dine with more than 500 longhouse chiefs from three parliamentary constituencies, namely Sibu, Lanang and Sarikei at a hotel shortly after his arrival.
During a media conference on Tuesday, Sibu Resident Sim Kok Kee revealed that the dinner would be the curtain raiser for Najib’s two-day visit here.
The premier would be accorded a warm traditional welcome, with his arrival expected at 7.30pm.
Sim added that the prime minister and Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud would be greeted by an audience of about 850. On the following day, Sim said, Najib would grace three functions before heading to Bintulu for the national-level Malaysia Day celebration.
“At 8am (Sept 16), he will perform the groundbreaking for the construction of the proposed Sarawak Technology University College in the old Airport Road here,” Sim said.