Najib goes on walkabout in Kuching
KUCHING, March 2 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak went on a walkabout today in three Malay traditional villages in this city, taking time to chat with the residents and partaking of Malay traditional food.
The walkabout, of about an hour, took him to the riverine villages of Lintang, Sungai Bedil Besar and Tanjong by the Sarawak River, where he was accorded a grand welcome by the villagers who lined up to shake his hand.
Najib was accompanied by Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, Deputy Chief Ministers Tan Sri Dr George Chan and Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, and several federal and state ministers.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, who had earlier in the day opened the 12th general assembly of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Sarawak, partook of Malay traditional food such as “linut” (traditional porridge from sago flour), yam vegetable and “sesar unjur” (smoked prawns).
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Najib also spent some time at a Malay traditional house which belonged to the late Mokhtar Deli, the one-time draughtsman of the then Kuching Rural District Council who was popularly known as Pak Mokhtar Plan.
He chatted with Mokhtar’s widow, Norjanah Abdullah, and their six children. Mokhtar died in 1999 at the age of 82.
Mokhtar’s nephew, Haidir Nusi, in his 70s, said the 70-year-old dilapidated house was the birthplace of Barisan Rakyat Jati Sarawak (Berjasa), which was the basis for the formation of PBB, and Berjasa’s participation in the then-Alliance coalition.
“The late Tun Razak (Najib’s father) had held meetings in this house with leaders such as the late Tun Ghafar Baba, Tun Musa Hitam, the late Tun Ghazali Shafie, the late Tun Saadon Jubir and Tan Sri Dr Aishah Ghani to coax Berjasa to join the Alliance (forerunner of the BN).
“The prime minister, with his visit today, has retraced the footsteps of his late father Tun Razak,” he told reporters.
Dr Chan, who is also State Tourism and Heritage Minister, said Najib had given his approval for the house to be preserved and upgraded for use under the homestay programme, with the cost to be borne by the federal government and co-ordinated by the ministry.
Najib also announced an allocation of RM7.4 million to deepen the river (RM6 million) and to build a community development kindergarten (RM400,000) in Kampung Sungai Bedil Besar and a multipurpose hall in Kampung Lintang (RM1 million).
Later in the evening, Najib spent some time visiting the site of a new hall of the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) in Jalan Kumpang here.
Najib, who was accompanied by Jabu, attended a briefing by State Infrastructure Development and Communication Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong, who is also the DBNA chief advisor, on the RM4.3 million project.
The prime minister had approved RM4 million for the project last year. — Bernama