BN-GRS cooperation vital to ensure joint victory in GE15 - Ismail Sabri

23 Oct 2022 03:55pm
Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob - Photo: BERNAMA
Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob - Photo: BERNAMA

KIMANIS - The cooperation forged between Barisan Nasional (BN) and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) in the state is aimed at ensuring a joint victory in the 15th general election (GE15), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.

The Umno vice-president said what mattered most is not the number of parliamentary seats contested but rather how many are won, adding that this could only materialise through strong solidarity enjoyed between the two political partners in the Sabah government.

He said BN could have opted to contest all 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah, which would mean pitting themselves against its GRS partners, as he cited the Malay proverb 'dikendong tak dapat yang dikejar keciciran', which describes the situation where things already in hand are much more valuable than what you could get.

"To win GE15, we need solidarity within Umno and BN, and in Sabah, with our partners in the state government (GRS). We are entering the ring with only one aim, which is to win every seat contested,” he said in his speech at the Barisan Nasional Zone 3 Gelombang Biru (Blue Wave) programme here today.

The programme was officiated by BN chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Also present were BN vice chairman Datuk Arthur Kurup, who is also Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) deputy president, BN secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir; BN treasurer-general Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein; Sabah BN chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and GRS Supreme Council member Datuk Mohd Arifin Mohd Arif.

BN, membered by Umno, MCA, MIC and PBRS has forged cooperation with GRS that comprises Sabah Bersatu, Parti Bersatu Sabah, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star), Sabah Progessive Party and the United Sabah National Organisation to govern the state.

Ismail Sabri said while preserving unity with other parties is important, solidarity within BN was also key to ensuring the coalition remains solid, and cited the strong unity between him and Ahmad Zahid, who is Umno president, as an example.

"There have been attempts to cause divisions among me and the president (Ahmad Zahid), (so) go to the ground and explain that our relationship is very strong and cannot be broken up.

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"There is supposedly a Putrajaya cluster headed by me and a WTC (World Trade Centre where UMNO is headquartered) cluster which the President heads... there are no Putrajaya or WTC clusters, there is only the Umno cluster led by the President," he said.

He said the unity shown by the party's top leadership needs to be emulated by each party member, especially at the grassroots level to ensure victory regardless of who represents the party in GE15.

Ismail Sabri said all efforts (such as cooperation, unity and strong leadership) were necessary for making BN a dominant party in the government and not too dependent on other parties to remain in power, besides determining the direction of the government.

"Yes, I am the Prime Minister but our party only has 42 (parliamentary) seats... when there are those who threaten to 'push the button', in our minds we thought the government will fall but at that moment the parties in PH (Pakatan Harapan) signed an MoU with the government which did not allow that to happen, but then for how long?

"In order to make huge decisions for the sake of the people, BN must have large control, if we are dominant, we will be able to approve anything for the benefit of Sabahans," he said.

Ismail Sabri said one major decision involved Budget 2023 which was presented on Oct 7 and which contained various interests for Sabah, including the allocation of RM6.3 billion for development projects in the state.

In addition, he said as much as RM180 million in the budget has been allocated to develop the National Digital Network (JENDELA) initiative in Sabah, which is currently 87.5 per cent complete.

"The budget has not been implemented. The authority to retable this budget rests with all of you, who on Nov 19 (polling day) can decide whether the same budget can be tabled or not. Manifestos are different from a budget, (while) this budget already has the finances for implementation, the manifesto is merely a promise," he said.

At the same event, Ismail Sabri also launched the RM127 million Jalan Bukit Manggis road upgrade project in Kimanis and the RM4 million Bongawan second mosque construction project. - BERNAMA