Ruling party has full backing of rural folk: Najib

News Desk in Kuala Terengganu/The Star

Kuala Terengganu (The Star/ANN) - Barisan Nasional is confident that it has the full support of the rural community for the 13th general election, said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

He said rural folk knew that Barisan could provide a better future with initiatives like the government's rural transformation programme.

"During my visits to villages and rural areas, it is clear that the people are hardcore supporters of Barisan.

"This is because they have evaluated what we have provided for them.

"They know Barisan has improved their livelihoods and that only we can provide a better future for them," the Barisan chairman said to a huge gathering at Kampung Bukit Wan here yesterday.

The prime minister also said rural folk knew they could not rely on Pakatan Rakyat.

"Barisan's principle is simple: if we make promises or pledges, they must be fulfilled. Yet, one Pakatan leader claims manifestos are not promises," he said.

Najib made a comparison between Barisan's transformation agenda and Pakatan's reformasi tagline.

"Reformasi invites the people to demonstrate on the street.

"Our transformation agenda educates the people to seek change in a more civilised manner," he said.

"So when they came up with Bersih 1.0 or Bersih 2.0, I came up with BR1M 1.0 and BR1M 2.0. Which is better?" he asked. At this point, the crowd roared "BR1M!"

Later in Shah Alam, his voice was hoarse from the strain of the arduous campaign but that did not stop Najib from getting his message across as he called upon his audience to support Barisan.

Addressing a gathering with students and staff of Universiti Teknologi Mara yesterday, Najib began by saying: "I want to start out by apologising; my sound system' has not been good today, because I have been giving too many speeches.

"But it's all right even if my voice is not okay, so long as Barisan Nasional emerges victorious," he said to cheers from the thousands of students and university staff.

At times, Najib looked uncomfortable speaking but he pressed on to address the audience.

Najib said he would have preferred to speak in a more forceful voice but his non-stop schedule of travelling throughout the country in the past several months had taken its toll, causing what he jokingly called "a minor breakdown" of his voice.

Thanking the crowd, most of whom were in T-shirts bearing slogans supporting Barisan, Najib said he was in high spirits.

"In all humility, I seek an opportunity to continue with my struggle because while we have accomplished much, we have still not reached our destination and I need a strong mandate for that."