Keningau (The Star/ANN) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak criss-crossed the west coast and interior of Sabah with a common message for its people that Barisan Nasional will safeguard their safety and the sovereignty of the state at all cost.
At the stops in five parliamentary constituencies during his two-day visit, Najib drove home the point that as a part of Malaysia, Sabah could depend on its whole weight to protect it against aggressors.
The Barisan chairman said it was important for him to reassure Sabahans on their safety because it was an issue that was on their minds following the Sulu gunmen intrusion in Lahad Datu.
"I need to assure them that if Barisan returns to power, they need not worry about their personal safety and that of the state," he told reporters at the end of his visit yesterday.
Asked whether the Lahad Datu incident would work against Barisan, Najib said this was the contrary as the issue had strengthened the people's support for the coalition.
"It is not that we wanted it (the incident) but the people could see how we effectively responded to the threat," he added.
Earlier when addressing Keningau voters, Najib said Sabah's autonomy, which was guaranteed in the 20-point agreement, was not an issue because the administration was handled by the chief minister and state Cabinet.
"Nevertheless, the Federal Government helps Sabah through financial assistance for various projects to improve the lives of the people," he said.
Najib also paid tribute to Parti Bersatu Sabah president and Barisan's incumbent Keningau MP Joseph Pairin Kitingan, describing him as a man of principle whose only interest was the people's well-being.
"I respected him when he was in the Opposition and I respect him more even now that he is with us again.
"If I can respect your Huguan Siou (paramount leader), I'm sure the Kadazandusuns respect him as well," he said.
Later in Ranau, Najib said Malaysia needed a strong government to achieve developed nation status and cautioned the people against the Opposition's promise of change as it could take the country to bankruptcy.
He said Barisan needed a strong mandate to ensure stability that would help it complete its efforts to transform the country into a high-income nation by 2020.
In reminding the people that changes promised by the Opposition might bring hardship, Najib said this was seen in many Middle East countries that went through the Arab Spring.
Today, Egypt, which was once one of the world's thriving countries, is seeking international financial assistance, he said, adding that Barisan, through a stable government has developed the country and become an international model for many countries.
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