KUCHING, May 4 – The Federal Cabinet meeting in Petrajaya here Wednesday is nothing extraordinary because each minister has responsibilities at the state level, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. The Prime Minister said this was different from the presence of state leaders like Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who is in Sarawak for the sole purpose of campaigning.
“If the opposition wants to make this an issue, I wish to remind their leaders like Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, that he has no powers outside Penang but is here only for campaigning purposes. Each minister has ministerial responsibilities in each state. Ministers will look into work done by their respective ministries, problems of the people, do monitoring, effectiveness of policies, and projects approved by the government,” he said.
He told this at a press conference after chairing the weekly Federal Cabinet meeting at Wisma Bapa Malaysia (the Sarawak state secretariat building). The Prime Minister said the purpose of holding the meeting here was to show support for and symbolise the close ties with Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem and the state government led by Sarawak Barisan Nasional.
He also said having Federal Cabinet meetings outside Putrajaya was done from time to time. Also present at the press conference were Adenan, and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Najib said the federal ministers were in Sarawak because they had responsibilities to ensure effectiveness of the delivery system of their ministries in each state.
The last Cabinet meeting held outside Putrajaya was in 2011 in Kuantan, Pahang. On Sarawak’s entry ban on certain leaders, Najib said the Sarawak government had the powers to do so and that all quarters must respect this. He said this entry into Sarawak is at their discretion. He said he believe the Sarawak government has good reasons to deny entry because it does not want the political atmosphere to be smeared by speeches that touch on people’s sensitivities and the like.
“The fact is, democracy works because if we give precedence to interests of the people of Sarawak, decisions should be made by them and their leaders. That is the yardstick, not outsiders (deciding), instead it is for the people of Sarawak to decide on who should campaign for them,” he said. Sarawak’s 11th state election will be held this Saturday.
Among the individuals barred from entering Sarawak are PKR vice president Nurul Izzah Anwar; DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke, DAP assistant publicity secretary Teo Nie Ching, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, Perak DAP chairman and Taiping MP, Nga Kor Ming and Sungai Besar UMNO head and Gerakan Merah movement chief, Jamal Md Yunos. Selangor Menteri Besar and PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, were allowed restricted entry.