SEBERANG PERAI, Aug 17 — Permatang Pauh had missed out on development since the change of political climate in the constituency back in 1999, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.
The prime minister said the PKR stronghold was previously a Barisan Nasional stronghold since 1969, but changed hands in 1999.
"Before that, Umno only lost the seat once in 1978 but after 1999, it is no longer under Barisan Nasional," he said in a speech to a crowd of about 21,000 at the Politeknik Seberang Perai field here.
Najib, who officiated the record breaking event of the most people to eat together while sitting cross-legged on mats here today, said Permatang Pauh has been left out of development since 1999.
"It looked as if time had stood still in Permatang Pauh, there are not much changes here.
"What is the MP doing here? Do you see the MP here? We don't want merely a symbol for an MP, we want someone who can serve the people," he said, referring to PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
He reminded the locals that they are at a loss if they voted for an MP who does not serve them.
Najib then criticised the Penang state government for making promises to build undersea tunnel and trains without delivering anything.
He compared the state's "empty promises" to the federal government that had recently completed its mass rapid transit (MRT) project in Kuala Lumpur.
"We built the MRT in KL, they only make promises here," he said.
Najib later announced his approval of a RM45 million allocation to build a religious secondary school in Central Seberang Perai.
"Since there are no secondary religious schools here, I am approving this allocation for a school to be built here," he said.
Najib is on a one-day working visit to Penang today.
He met with state BN leaders at about 10.45am today at The Light Hotel in Seberang Jaya.
In the one-hour closed-door meeting, Penang BN leaders gave a 30 minute briefing to Najib on the situation in BN.
According to Teluk Bahang state assemblyman Datuk Shah Headan Ayob Hussain, Najib reminded them to go down to the ground to serve the people.
"He told us to be more humble and to work hard for the people," he said.
Najib is expected to launch the Northern Corridor Economic Region Blueprint 2.0 and visit a low-cost housing project in Sungai Nibong later today.