KUCHING, April 11 (Bernama) -- The Barisan Nasional (BN) forged ahead with its message to transform Sarawak as candidates raced against the clock with four days left before polling opens for the 10th Sarawak state election.
The next few days would see political parties going all out to woo over fence sitters in the state's most keenly-contested polls in which 71 seats are for grabs.
On the ground to lend a hand were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who visited interior areas to speak to longhouse residents about the government's development plans and action on native customary rights (NCR) land.
Addressing over 1,000 residents of Spaoh, about 50km from Betong, Najib said the federal government had set aside huge allocations for Sarawak's development, including RM5.7 billion under the National Key Result Areas for 2010-2012.
"The allocation for Sarawak is the biggest compared to other states. Under the 1Malaysia concept, projects implemented are not based on ethnicity," said Najib as he underlined the government's commitment to uplift the lives of the people especially those in the rural areas.
Slamming allegations by the opposition, he said the government had already begun addressing the issue of native customary rights (NCR) land by allocating RM30 million this year and the same next year to carry out a survey compared to RM20 million last year.
"They (opposition) should wake up to the reality that the government does not sideline rural residents in connection with their ancestral land," he said.
Muhyiddin turned the table on the opposition's spin that the country's top two leaders were in town because the BN was losing ground and had lost confidence in Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
"That is normal. What is Lim Kit Siang doing? Anwar Ibrahim is here for 10 days, why? (He) does not go back. Does he no longer trust Baru Bian?
"We are a component of the BN, four of the components are in Sarawak. Is it not logical for the Prime Minister as the BN chairman and I, as the deputy chairman, to come down and help?" he said.
Lim, the DAP adviser, and Anwar, the de factor leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), have been holding ceramahs since last week. PKR president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Ismail had gone ahead to name Baru Bian, who is contesting Ba'Kelalan, as the party's chief minister designate.
Earlier in the day, Muhyiddin spent time in Bintangor where he assured the people that the government was fully committed to uplift their livelihoods and asked them not to be duped by the opposition.
A chartered helicopter crashed at Dataran Sibu in Sibu after unloading three aides of Muhyiddin upon their return from Bintangor. The pilot, who was the only one left inside, was rushed to Sibu Hospital with serious injuries.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, who is the BN state chairman, took time off to campaign for the Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) in Miri where deputy chief minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan is defending the Piasau seat.
"When you go to the polls, don't listen to the words of poison. I feel a lot of poisons in the air with the coming of outside (opposition) parties. Let us keep Miri clean," he said when launching the Imperial Palace Hotel owned by local developer, Boulevard Group of Companies.
Taib and Dr Chan, both in their 70s, have been targeted by the opposition despite both having stated that this would be their final state election.
Dr Chan went on attack against the DAP, saying while he already had a succession plan in mind, the DAP had only dynasties following Lim Kit Siang, chairman Karpal Singh and the Chongs in Sarawak, referring to state DAP founder Chong Siew Chiang and his son, Chong Chieng Jien, who is the state DAP secretary.
The DAP is banking on this election to oust the SUPP as the representative of the Chinese community.
tunku : actually opposition is afraid of Najib's presents in Sarawak. they know that majority of Sarawakians supports Najib. they are telling people PM don't trust Taib but they forgets that their top leaders are in Sarawak since nomination day till the end because they actually don't have faith in their so called CM to be Baru Bian. even the local pakatan leaders dont have faith in him and some are saying that they did not endorse baru bian as their leader. Anwar just named him just to get the Native votes but the Natives in Sarawak are smart as they too know who is Baru Bian.he's just a great liar(lawyer).