Najib: Strength in rural heartlands key to Barisan win

KUCHING - Barisan Nasional's landslide win in Sarawak was due its continued strength in its rural heartlands as well as an urban swing, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Thanking the voters, the Barisan Nasional chairman and Prime Minister said the strong and enduring partnership between the state and federal governments would allow the ruling coalition to fulfil all its pledges and bring Sarawak to the next level of development.

"This win shows that the basis of Barisan Nasional's strength remains solid in Sarawak. The rural heartland remains a pillar of Barisan, and we also saw an urban swing towards Barisan Nasional.

"This urban swing has caused DAP to lose five of the 12 seats it won in the last state election. This 'urban swing' shows a revival of SUPP specifically," he said.

Delivering his remarks at the old state assembly building here following the announcement of the results and flanked by Barisan leaders including Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem, Najib paid tribute to the Sarawak Barisan chief.

"I would like to thank voters for giving an excellent win to Barisan Nasional. This win reflects the confidence of the people of Sarawak in the leadership of Adenan."

Najib said the victory reflects the people's confidence in the strong partnership between the federal and state governments.

He said that he was fully aware of the aspirations of the people in Sarawak who want more infrastructure development and more powers for the state government.

"The voice of the people of Sarawak will be given serious attention by the Federal GovernĀ­ment."

The principle of an independent Sarawak within Malaysia would be honoured, and the second phase of discussions between the state and federal governments regarding related legislative matters would be held in due course.

Najib said the Opposition had failed to gain voter traction despite raising unhappiness about the Goods and Services Tax.

"The people now understand why GST was introduced and how it was in fact a saviour of the Malaysian economy."

On the impact of this results on the 14th general election, Najib said that he did not want to take anything for granted.

"I regard this (good results) as a process towards the next general election, in the sense that we can build on this success and use it as something that will add to our momentum."

Asked who would be appointed to replace Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas who has now won a state seat and who is expected to serve a senior position in the state government, Najib said that he would be studying the matter.

Uggah is currently Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister.