TUARAN, March 22 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today he had always given serious attention to the interests of Sabahans and the development of the state since becoming the prime minister.
He said he was first prime minister to have made the unprecedented appointment of seven leaders from Sabah to the Federal Cabinet.
"I have given close attention to the people of Sabah. I can cite many instances. Never in the history of the Federal Cabinet has there been seven ministers from Sabah.
"I think that in the past eight years or so, I have visited Sabah more often than someone who has been the prime minister for 22 years," he said in his speech while taking a closer look at the Jalan Telipok-Kiulu-Randagong Highway in Kampung Pukak.
Also present were Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman; Federal Science, Technology and Innovation Minister and MP for Tuaran Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau; Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor; Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun and Kiulu state assemblyman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.
Najib said that as the leader of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, his attention to the people of Sabah was a manifestation of the BN government approach of always fulfilling what was promised to the people.
He said he was different from a previous prime minister who, despite being in power for 22 years, paid little attention to Sabah.
"This road here was proposed in the Seventh Malaysia Plan (1986-1990) when that person was the prime minister. Today, he has offered himself to be the prime minister again. This road has been approved during my time as the prime minister," he said.
Najib said that what he did for Sabah and the country was not for his own interests but for the purpose of taking Sabah and the country forward to a more developed level.
"What we are doing here in Kiulu is the foundation for the future. All of you are on the verge of a great change and we can achieve that provided we give our undivided support to the BN, he said.
Najib also reiterated his promise to restore the rights of Sabah as contained in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
He also dismissed claims by certain quarters that the country was bankrupt, saying if that was true the government would be unable to implement multi-billion ringgit mega projects such as the Pan Borneo Highway in Sabah.
"Can a bankrupt country build the RM18-billion Pan Borneo Highway from Sindumin, Sipitang, to Tawau, a distance of 1,200 kilometres without toll collection?" he asked.
On the latest allocations approved for the Tuaran parliamentary constituency, Najib said RM2.2 million had been approved for mosques and surau and RM2.5 million for a hall of the St John Church Tuaran.
Najib said he would also upgrade 22 kilometres of road in the Tuaran parliamentary constituency and provide allocations for a survey of customary land during the term of the new government (after the general election).