THE BEST OP­TION

Barisan Na­sional’s track record has proven that it is con­sis­tent in car­ry­ing out projects and tak­ing care of the peo­ple’s wel­fare

New Straits Times - - Opinion - The writer, a staff cor­re­spon­dent for the NST Sabah bureau, is open to ex­pe­ri­enc­ing new things and ad­ven­tures. She re­cently em­braced the Muay Thai train­ing as a life­style

RE­CENTLY, when Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi was in town, he spoke on the im­por­tance of fed­eral and state Barisan Na­sional (BN) gov­ern­ments’ re­la­tion­ship.

It was this close col­lab­o­ra­tion that has en­sured the con­tin­ued smooth progress in Sabah, which many may have taken for granted.

While some crit­ics ar­gued it was due to the elec­tions get­ting nearer that the gov­ern­ment made sure al­lo­ca­tions and projects for the peo­ple were made known to the pub­lic, de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes for Sabah, in par­tic­u­lar, have been con­sis­tently rolled out over the years.

Zahid, ad­dress­ing the peo­ple dur­ing his Tawau visit, said Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak and Sabah Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Musa Aman’s close ties ben­e­fited the peo­ple and the state.

“The key to get­ting as­sis­tance from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is good chem­istry. Their (Na­jib and Musa) re­la­tion­ship is con­tin­u­ally strength­ened not for in­di­vid­ual ben­e­fit, but to en­sure the peo­ple’s wel­fare is taken care of — and I am in Sabah as proof of sup­port­ing this fed­eral-state ties.

“This is vi­tal to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity (of de­vel­op­ment) in Sabah. If there are lead­ers from this state high­light­ing fed­eral or state weak­nesses, they have a de­sire to ‘blur the peo­ple’s vi­sion’, say­ing there are too many loop­holes in the sys­tem. They want to elim­i­nate the peo­ple’s trust in the gov­ern­ment,” said Zahid.

He ad­mit­ted that there was no such thing as a per­fect gov­ern­ment — the point was to strive to do their best.

“We are aware that the time of ‘zero-mis­take’ gov­ern­ment or gov­ern­ment not ad­mit­ting mis­takes has passed, and we are of a new breed.

“Where there are weak­nesses, we want to im­prove for the peo­ple. De­nial syn­drome does not ex­ist in Barisan Na­sional,” Zahid said.

“And that is why, as long as the in­te­ri­ors and ru­ral ar­eas need de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes chan­nelled to them, we need to strengthen the re­la­tions be­tween mem­bers of par­lia­ment and state as­sem­bly­men — the fed­eral and state. That is our aim.”

He said this was some­thing the vot­ers should gauge when mak­ing a de­ci­sion on their fu­ture, and ap­pre­ci­ate what has been im­ple­mented and achieved so far.

“So, when you give your sup­port, it would not be for me per­son­ally, but to sup­port the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment that has been along­side the state all this while,” he said.

While some Sabah quar­ters have been de­mand­ing for change, they must also think about the fu­ture im­pli­ca­tions. They must ask, will the ma­jor projects that have been drawn up be con­tin­ued with a change in gov­ern­ment?

What if the team play­ers of the new gov­ern­ment they are root­ing for do not see eye to eye and are more in­vested in per­sonal gains and not the peo­ple col­lec­tively? Th­ese are things the peo­ple still have time to pon­der on be­fore mak­ing their choices.

While there are so many op­po­si­tion choices out there now for Saba­hans, BN’s track record here seems to in­di­cate it would be eas­ier said than done.

In fact, a BN com­po­nent leader is con­fi­dent that the coali­tion will re­main strong in the state and would still win hand­somely should the state elec­tion be called as early as next month.

Parti Ber­satu Sabah (PBS) act­ing pres­i­dent Datuk Seri Dr Max­imus Johnity Ongk­ili said the key pre­req­ui­site is for the Sabah BN com­po­nent par­ties to stay united and work closely to de­liver an­other solid win.

“As I said be­fore, no sin­gle party can win Sabah on its own, not even Umno, with­out the sup­port and co­op­er­a­tion from other com­po­nent par­ties,” the en­ergy, green tech­nol­ogy and wa­ter min­is­ter had stressed.

Sabah Umno in­for­ma­tion chief Datuk Sa­pawi Ah­mad, sum­ming it up, said BN was still the best op­tion for the peo­ple, as its line of lead­ers had con­sis­tent strug­gles.

“It is not be­ing led by dis­ap­pointed in­di­vid­u­als who cre­ated their own political plat­forms af­ter fail­ing to gain what they per­son­ally de­sired while they were in BN.

“Such lead­ers are us­ing the peo­ple to pur­sue their own in­ter­ests,” he said, ques­tion­ing the sin­cer­ity of some op­po­si­tion lead­ers in Sabah.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi greet­ing the peo­ple in Tawau dur­ing his visit to Sabah re­cently. With him is Sabah Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Musa Aman (on Zahid’s left).

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