|Najib: We have discussed Sarawak succession plan |
By SHARON LING and ZORA CHAN
KUCHING: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has given his assurance that Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud will step down as Sarawak Chief Minister some time after the state election.
Najib said he had discussed the leadership succession with Taib, who had agreed that it would be done.
“Don’t worry, the change in leadership will be done in a planned manner. We don’t want it to be done suddenly as this would lead to uncertainty,” he told the crowd at a meet-the-people gathering at the MBKS Indoor Stadium here last night.
Urging the people to trust him, Najib said they should not listen to the Opposition’s claims that Taib would stay on as Chief Minister after the election.
“Look at Lim Kit Siang, he has been the leader of DAP for 42 years. Karpal Singh is 72 years old and he’s also still there,” he said in a thinly-veiled criticism of the DAP leaders who had frequently attacked Taib’s 30-year tenure as Chief Minister.
DAP adviser Lim had also claimed that Taib would not step down after the state election.
Taib had announced last month that he would hand over power in mid-term after the election, which will be held this Saturday.
Najib also went on the offensive against the Opposition’s slogan of “change” for the election, saying only Barisan Nasional could bring transformation to Sarawak.
“This is the difference from what the Opposition says.
“They can only promise but a promise to deliver is no guarantee that it will be done.
“Barisan not only promises but we can deliver and we have delivered,” he said.
He added that Barisan planned changes in a systematic way so as not to create uncertainty, which would be bad for business.
The Prime Minister said the reason why he kept coming to Sarawak was to bring change and help the people.
“I promise you that if you give us a strong mandate in the election, there will be more changes for Sarawak,” he said to applause from the 2,000-strong crowd.
He called on the people to support Barisan’s Chinese candidates so that the community would continue to be represented in the Government.
This would make it easier for the community’s problems to be brought up to the Government and be resolved, he said.
Also present were Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon and SUPP candidates Sim Kiang Chiok, Prof Dr Sim Kui Hian, Datuk Alfred Yap, Sih Hua Tong and Tan Joo Phoi.