KOTA KINABALU: The folks of Kiulu, a sub-district of Tuaran, have never had a Prime Minister come a-calling. So it was historic when Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak set foot in a village there yesterday.
Although it was no secret why the Prime Minister made his way to the sub-district, he vowed to return and spend more time with them, promising to even go white-water rafting when he does.
“I want to make a special offer. If you want me to go rafting here, I ask you to help deliver all four seats to Barisan.
“I will come back after the general election,” Najib said as he inspected a 60km road project that would connect Telipok-Kiulu-Randagong in Ranau.
Estimated at RM288mil, the stretch is expected to be completed by March next year.
Kiulu, Sulaman and Tamparuli are the three state seats under the Tuaran parliamentary constituency.
In the last election, Barisan won the Tuaran parliamentary seat through Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau of Upko, Sulaman through Umno’s Hajiji Noor and Kiulu by a whisker – 44 votes – through debutant Datuk Joniston Bangkuai of PBS.
However, the ruling coalition lost narrowly in Tamparuli to PKR by 383 votes.
Sabah Barisan has shifted to high gear in an effort to make a clean sweep this time around.
Last week, Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman hinted that the PBS’ former Tamparuli assemblyman Datuk Jahid Jahim would be fielded there again.
Bangkuai, a former Sabah New Straits Times bureau chief, described Najib’s visit as a “major morale booster” to the rural folk.
“It is big when you have the PM meeting the people and pledging to bring development,” said Bangkuai.
“There has been no development for many years here. But we have been seeing progress,” said the assemblyman whose hilly Kiulu constituency had 105 kampungs spread over a 388sq km area.
Kiulu is said to be the second most scenic village in Malaysia, thanks to the Kiulu River famed for white-water rafting.