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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Najib to meet Sarawak BN reps ahead of state polls

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak will meet Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblymen on February 6 at the federal Chinese New Year open house in Miri in what is seen as a sign of impending state polls.

The Sarawak state government’s mandate ends this July. Speculation is rife that the state assembly could be dissolved anytime from now to make way for state-level elections.

Najib (picture), who is BN chairman, already met up with the coalition’s MPs earlier this month.

Minister in the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Department Datin Fatimah Abdullah, in confirming the meeting, said the purpose of Najib’s meet with BN state assemblymen would be the similar to his previous meeting with BN MPs.

“This time the prime minister will be meeting all Sarawak state BN assemblymen and several things will be discussed including preparations for the upcoming state elections,” she told reporters here today.

According to a Bernama report, Fatimah, who is also Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy women’s chief, said the meeting with Najib will be conducted via small groups, just like the PM’s meeting with the MPs on January 8.

There are 71 seats in the Sarawak state assembly.

BN has 63 assemblymen — PBB has 35 seats, the Sarawak United People’s Party has 12 seats while the Sarawak People’s Party (PRS) and the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) each have eight seats.

Long-serving Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud had suggested that the state polls be held jointly with the federal elections which are speculated to happen this year.

However, The Malaysian Insider understands that Najib is not in favour of this as he wants his economic plans to show results before calling for a snap election.

BN’s mandate is until May 2013 but speculation is rife that Najib will seek his own mandate by end-2011.

BN is expected to keep the state but could face a stiff fight from DAP, which captured the Sibu federal seat in a by-election last year. - Malaysian Insider

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