KOTA KINABALU (July 1): Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has asserted that he is a Barisan Nasional (BN) prime minister, therefore any attack on him would weaken the coalition’s leadership.
Ismail Sabri added that he was also the Prime Minister in charge of leading the federal government at this time and any attack on the government was an attack on the BN-led government.
"Actually today, I was not meant to give my speech; I was actually given tomorrow’s slot (at the Sabah BN convention) but I apologise for being unable to attend….I am speaking tonight, although only for five minutes because someone has said that the Prime Minister has been denied from speaking at the Sabah BN convention.
"What happened tonight clearly shows outside parties trying to sow disunity among us,” he said during his speech at the BN supreme council members dinner alongside Sabah BN leadership at the UMNO building in Karamunsing here on Friday (July 1) night.
BN chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, BN deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) deputy president Datuk Arthur Joseph Kurup, and Sabah BN chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin were also present at the event.
Ismail Sabri said as the 15th General Election (GE15) draws near, outside parties were trying their hardest to split BN’s unity.
He therefore reminded all BN members to work towards unity among themselves and to focus clearly against opposition parties, and not attack each other.
"So why should we attack each other, except when we want to take on each other during party elections. That’s why character assassination happens, because we want to ‘kill’ each other, as we will compete against one another.
"But when we have decided there will be no contests among ourselves before a general election happens, we have to focus on the general election. When the general election happens, we’ll have discussions. I will discuss with the UMNO supreme leadership and with the BN leadership as to what we will decide then,” he said.
He said even though it is not known when GE15 will take place at this time, all BN members should be prepared and assume as if elections would be held the next day.
Ismail Sabri said the Sabah BN convention that will be held on Saturday (July 2) will be an avenue to strengthen the party and needs to be the platform to determine the direction and foundation for the preparation for GE15.
"I asked Bung (Moktar) and he said 'Sabah Tatap Ready'...my friends and I in the government have many issues (that need) to be settled: rising prices, costs of living. The Opposition will build the momentum against the government to raise people’s sentiment against the government when they get the idea that GE15 will be held soon,” he added.
He said the government will continue to try to ensure prices do not rise too high to ensure Malaysians will not face too much pressure, and that over RM70 billion has been spent in subsidies for selected products to control rising prices.