Malaysian PM drops hint of election date

MALAYSIA - Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday gave a clear hint that the 13th general election is around the corner.

Speaking at the handing-over of quality affordable houses at Taman Intan Duyung, here, the prime minister said he felt the people's confidence in the government had increased and that polls are imminent.

"During my visits around the country in the past one or two days, I could feel that the confidence of the people has grown. I can feel it ... in politics, we must feel and I feel it (13th GE) is near," he said.

Following the 2008 political tsunami, Najib said two by-elections - for the Bagan Pinang state seat and Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat - were trying points for Barisan Nasional.

"For Bagan Pinang, I picked Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad to contest. He was a winnable candidate and we will use this same criterion to win in other seats, too."

He reminded the people not to be taken in by the opposition's grandiose promises such as abolishing toll and writing off the RM40 billion in National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans if it came to power.

He reiterated that these promises were totally unrealistic and were nothing but a recipe for economic disaster.

Present were Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan; Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor; Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim; Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Senator Datuk G. Palanivel who is also the MIC president; and Isa.

Najib said BN had been consistent in its administration and had never made promises it could not fulfil.

"Just look at the number of leaders who have left the opposition. Dr Chandra Muzaffar, for example, a founding member of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) not only left, but went on to say it would be an 'unmitigated disaster' if Anwar (PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) were to become the prime minister.

"Even Anwar's former political secretary Ezam Md Noor left, followed by his lawyer, Zulkifli Nordin. Even his closest friend, Datuk S. Nallakaruppan, is no longer with him.

I think even one entire billboard will not be enough to fill the number of people who have since left the opposition."

He said the BN government was willing to make changes and undergo transformation for the betterment of the people.

"We are willing to make the necessary changes ... from the top to the bottom. These changes and transformations are all based on what the people want and not for any personal interest."

A total of 70 houses were built under the affordable housing project at RM52,000 each (S$21,356).

The government subsidised RM10,000 for each house and the three-room units would be sold to the low-income group at RM42,000 each.

Najib, who had his right index finger bandaged, later told the crowd that he had burnt his finger when he accidentally touched the exhaust pipe of a chopper (motorcycle) on Friday.

"Love these big bikes and so, I could not resist trying one out yesterday... this is the result," he said in jest.

The prime minister, who was in Negri Sembilan for a one-day working visit, also attended a 1Malaysia lunch here, before a get-together with the people where he also launched the Caring for Old Folks Awareness campaign at Taman Desa Rhu in Sikamat, Seremban.

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