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Najib and Anwar – will once again slog it out in Sabah

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KOTA KINABALU  –  Come year-end, the country’s top two “rivals” in Malaysian politics – Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and opposition supremo Anwar Ibrahim – will once again slog it out in Sabah.

It is reliably learned that both have scheduled their final visits to the politically volatile state on Dec 28 and 29 respectively.

Besides wooing potential voters here, the duo will be also be fighting for spaces in the local newspapers.
Media editors here have spoken of the “interesting” heat emanating from the political slugging and its reach to voters across the vast state of Sabah.

Sabah is equivalent to the combined size of nine smaller states in the Peninsula.
The state is a logistical nightmare and poor communication in Sabah has made it favourable to politicians to get maximum coverage in local newspapers.

Anwar, it is learned, would fly in from Jakarta and will visit Kuala Penyu and possibly another area during his visit.
Najib, meanwhile, is expected to officiate at the annual congress of a tiny Barisan Nasional component Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), which faces annihilation in the rural town of Pensiangan in the 13th general election.

According to those in the know, Najib is also scheduled to appear in Papar.

This would be Najib’s seventh visit to Sabah this year. It is a record unsurpassed by all the previous five premiers and telling of the political situation in the peninsula.

At stake in Sabah are 26 parliamentary seats, including the sole seat in Labuan, and 60 state seats, of which the Umno/PBS-led Sabah BN controls 23 and 57 seats respectively.

Pre-Christmas visit
The last time Najib was in town was about a week ago where he went to Sandakan to officiate at the annual congress of another BN minor partner, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

In Sandakan, he feted the Christian community to lunch in a bid to stop the decreasing support for BN from that community.

The community has been under extreme pressure from the Najib’s administration.

The “Alkitab” or Bible issue is still hanging, while Najib’s own Muslim groups of supporters had been pressuring him not to retract a certain edict or fatwa in as many as 10 states that bars Christians from using many Malayanised Arabic-rooted words that include Allah, bait Allah, solat, kiblat, rasul, firman Allah, kaabah and even iman.

Najib, to be accompanied by wife Rosmah Mansor, may also meet the Christian community while in the Indonesian-bordering Pensiangan where PBRS’s sole MP, Joseph Kurup, has a “loose” rope, instead of a safe net.
Kurup is said to be facing an uphill task to retain the seat for BN.

According to FMT , In 2008, Kurup won the Pensiangan seat unopposed by default when his contender from PKR, Danny Andipai, was controversially denied the opportunity to file in his nomination papers.

Kurup and his wife Melinda barely escaped from an angry crowd at the nomination centre where he was punched.
Anwar, on his part, has also been busy visiting the interiors of Sabah in the hope of gaining support there. He has also enticed some big names to defect from Umno and to support Pakatan.