Malaysia

Najib pledges RM36m in Perak vote offensive

Najib (centre) has taken personal charge of BN’s efforts to win back voters in Perak and Selangor. — File picNajib (centre) has taken personal charge of BN’s efforts to win back voters in Perak and Selangor. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak pulled out all the stops on his one-day tour of Perak today, doling out funds and trumpeting Barisan Nasional’s (BN) past successes in a bid to sway voters in the key northern state.

He reminded the people that the ruling coalition, under pressure to secure its customary two-thirds parliamentary seat majority, had always been able to ensure the nation’s prosperity.

This was proven, he said, by Putrajaya’s ability to pay for assistance programmes as a result of BN’s efficient and effective administration.

“The opposition’s stories cannot be relied upon as they don’t have the capacity to administer the country efficiently. Even now they seem to be in chaos. So, don’t listen to them if they come,” Bernama Online quoted him as saying in Beruas this morning.

Najib also stressed that the government had succeeded in reducing public debt and raising national income, even after giving such handouts to the people.

“This means that we are able to administer the country well, manage the national economy efficiently. We ensure that the national economy can continue to expand, national revenue increases.

“And when we achieve such success, we return the national wealth to the people,” he said, before allocating RM2 million each to Masjid Changkat Cermin, SJK(C) Tit Bin and a hall for the Indian community.

Because the Orang Asli community has been loyal to my government, I will not hesitate to approve this (RM30 million) allocation

Najib, who is also BN chairman, took the opportunity to deny that giving financial aid to those in need was “irresponsible”, as charged by the opposition.

He said that the government was merely returning to the people revenue earned by the country, in line with his “People First, Performance Now” concept.

This was different from Pakatan Rakyat (PR), which only doled out aid before an election to gain votes without managing the economy properly or thinking of the nation’s future, he said.

Later, in Tapah, the prime minister also announced that an extra RM30 million would be allocated to the Orang Asli community this year via the Rural and Regional Development Ministry.

“Because the Orang Asli community has been loyal to my government, I will not hesitate to approve this allocation,” he said in Kampung Kuala Woh.

Najib has embarked on a lightning tour of Perak and Selangor this weekend, with stops in opposition-held federal seats as speculation mounts that he will call snap polls by June.

The prime minister is on a whistle-stop tour of Beruas, Menglembu, Ipoh Barat and Tapah in Perak today, which will be followed by visits to Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam and Puchong in Selangor tomorrow.

All the areas, excluding Tapah where MIC vice president Datuk M. Saravanan is MP, are now held by the opposition.

The tour is seen by political watchers to be an attempt by the ruling coalition to win crucial votes in Selangor and Perak which analysts believe still hangs in the balance.

BN took over Perak in 2009 — a year after it lost the frontline state to PR in the last general election — after three opposition MPs defected.

Najib will lead BN into polls for the first time in the next general election, with observers saying he must improve on the coalition’s dismal 2008 outing and return its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament to remain in power.

Najib, the son of Malaysia’s second prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak, replaced Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in April 2009, a year after BN suffered its worst electoral outcome ever, ceding 82 federal seats and four state governments.

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