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Why Najib making frequent trip to Sabah – Branding?

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By Calvin Kabaron

Political analysts in Sabah are of the opinion that Najib Tun Razak’s meeting with Sabah Umno in Sandakan this weekend could be tense.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is set to fly into Sabah for a two-day visit on Saturday (Sept 1) a day after Merdeka Day, which has raised a storm here over the federal government’s insistence that the nation is celebrating its 55th birthday.

It’s Najib’s fourth visit to Sabah this year and comes six weeks after his last visit to Keningau on June 16. All have so far been carefully staged affairs to give the impression that he is popular in the state.

Though there is no official statement about his itinerary here, signboards welcoming him and wife Rosmah Mansor, are already up in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and in Kota Belud, the birth place of Sabah Umno.

According to people familiar with the visit, preparations are also being made for meetings with the Sabah Umno liaison committee and the Sabah Barisan Nasional, while he is in Sandakan.

In Kota Belud, about 70km north of here, the town is abuzz with news that Najib and Rosmah will grace Aidilfitri celebration at the house of Parliament Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia, at Kampung Rampayan Laut, on Sept 2.

At least two giant billboards on their visit to Kota Belud have been erected in the town besides banners welcoming the couple and urging citizens to come to the Aidilfitri celebration.

According to the billboards, the function is co-hosted by the United Sabah Bajau Organisation (USBO) which is led by state Umno deputy chief Salleh Said Keruak and Pandikar.

Political analysts are of the opinion that the Sandakan meeting of Sabah Umno and its president could be tense.

“Any argument will be an eye-opener. Look for absentees. Don’t expect too much from the BN meeting, they are just too meek to speak their minds,” said an observer. -hornbillunleashed