TENOM, June 30 (Bernama) — The sleepy hollow of Kemabong in the interior of the Tenom District came alive with the visit of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, today.
About 10,000 people from surrounding villages and government officers from Kota Kinabalu thronged the town, causing a massive traffic snarl as there is only one road linking the state capital to Tenom.
A downpour which drenched large parts of the Kemabong District since morning made the congestion worse as residents headed for the town as early as 7.30am to join the “People’s Champion – 1Malaysia Kemabong” programme and meet the prime minister.
Najib, who arrived about 9am, was overwhelmed with the large turnout.
He quipped:”I was worried that the turnout would not be encouraging or I would get a cold response because of the rain. But when I arrived at Kemabong town, I four that the reception from the people was very warm indeed.”
“The large turnout clearly reflects the support of the people for the Barisan Nasional,” he said.
Located 208km or a three-and-a-half hours drive from Kota Kinabalu, the Kemabong Sub-district has a population of 35,000 people, 70 per cent of them Murut.
Najib described the gathering as abnormal as previous and present leaders were gathered together.
“I have visited Sabah many times, but this is the first ever gathering where former chief ministers are gathered together… Tan Sri Harris Salleh, and Datuk Seri Osu Sukam, and previous ones who are still around, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan (deputy chief minister) and Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak (state assembly speaker).
“They (Pairin and Salleh) came back and re-invented themselves in the present leadership. This means that there is a cohesion between the old and new leadership,” he added.
Earlier, on arrival, Najib visited several traditional houses here and had breakfast with leaders of the local community and religious bodies.
He later visited an exhibition held in conjunction with the programme involving government agencies and handed over communal grants to workers’ representatives from Kabintaluan, Kemabong before leaving by helicopter to Sipitang at 11.30am.
Source : Bernama