As Sarawak, Malaysian biggest state goes to the polls today May 7, the question is if this is Prime Minister Najib Razak first viable test to assess the level of public support for the current administration after nearly a year of allegations and political turmoil over fund misappropriations.
Najib’s Barisan Nasional coalition is expected to return to office with a comfortable margin, considering the party controls 55 of the 71 seats in the state assembly, but recent 1MDB scandals have put that assumption in doubt.
In fact, the prime minister needs a strong support in the state to fend off public campaign led by former leader Mahathir Mohamad to get him out of the office and prove to his party he can still deliver.
“If they win really well, at least he can go back and convince his own party that he’s not a liability, he can still deliver seats in an election,” said Ibrahim Suffian, an analyst at the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research in Kuala Lumpur, referring to Najib. “A Sarawak election that delivered the seats for Barisan is going to be one that gives confidence to Najib as a prime minister.
While voters are more concerned with the provision of basic amenities affecting their lives on the Borneo Island, Najib in one of his numerous visits has promised to build a 1,796-kilometer highway linking Sarawak and Sabah at a cost of 28.9 billion ringgit if his party is elected. A move that could potentially deliver a victory in the state as public endorsement and validation of his administration.
“After waiting a while we can get what we needed from the government, things like a roof, cement and sand,” said the 51-year-old, who works odd jobs to supplement his income from farming. “I’m half-half about Najib. If he speaks the truth then I like him, if he’s not then I don’t like him. I can’t decide if he’s being honest or not.”
If anything, the election is a test of Najib’s popularity not only in Sarawak but the general perception of the current administration among the Malaysian people.
“The election is going to show that as controversial and damaging 1MDB has been in terms of the international financial reputation of Putrajaya, it has limited traction with voters who are in rural areas,” said Ibrahim from the Merdeka Center. “At the end of the day politics are local and the local politics are determined by which party can mobilize the voters, which party can attend to the needs of the voters.”
Sanwo-Olu Orders Full Reopening of Markets
Governor of Lagos State Orders Full Reopening of All Markets
Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos has ordered the full reopening of markets in the state after a report showed new cases of COVID-19 have subsided.
The governor ordered the full reopening of both the food markets and non-food markets across the metropolis.
Dr. Wale Ahmed, the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, disclosed this in a statement issued on Tuesday.
He said the governor took the decision to further deepen trade and commerce and ease the hardship of recent happenings.
It should be recalled that the markets were shut due to the outbreak of ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in March before they were partially reopened for activities in May.
The governor, however, urged all traders to observe all safety protocols in order to prevent a possible resurgence of COVID-19 in the state.
Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Speaks on Looted Palliatives, Explains Delay
Looted Palliatives: Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Speaks
Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has spoken on the recent actions of criminals and thugs who hijacked the #EndSARS protest and looted warehouses where COVID-19 palliatives were kept for distributions.
The group refuted claims that the stolen items were hoarded for certain people instead of distribution to the vulnerable they were meant for. This is despite the fact that some of the palliatives were already rotten by the time criminals broke into the warehouses.
Some of the looters, who spoke with the press, said a sizeable number of the items were already rotten and destroyed by rodents, while one of the lawmakers tasked with distribution claimed he planned to distribute the items on his birthday. A statement that angered many Nigerians.
However, in a statement issued on behalf of the group by Osita Nwanisobi, the Acting Director of Corporate Communications, CBN, on Monday, CACOVID said due to the huge size of the items meant to be distributed, the complex process involved in manufacturing, packaging and the eventual distribution to 2 million most vulnerable families across the 774 local government in the country, the group agreed to conduct the supply in stages, especially given locked down imposed by the Federal Government during the period.
The statement reads, “Members of the Private Sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) wish to call for calm, amidst the looting of COVID-19 palliatives meant for distribution in various State Government warehouses across the country.
“The Coalition is deeply concerned by the recent events and is urging those involved in the wanton destruction of public and private property to immediately desist from these raids, in order to allow the States to proceed with a peaceful and fair distribution of these palliatives to the neediest and most vulnerable in our society.
“Over the past few months, the private sector, through CACOVID has been working with governors, the FCT Minister, and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to procure, deliver, and distribute these food relief items to almost 2 million most vulnerable families (over 10 million Nigerians) across the 774 local government areas of the country, as part of the private sector’s support towards the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The sheer scale of this nationwide food programme and the timing of the orders and deliveries, which coincided with the lockdowns and reduced movement across the country, compelled CACOVID to roll out distribution in a staggered manner.
“The very large size of the order and the production cycle required to meet the demand caused delays in delivering the food items to the states in an expeditious manner; hence, the resultant delay in delivery of the food palliatives by the state governors.”
Makinde Directs Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest
Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest, Says Governor Makinde
The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has directed schools across the Ibadan metropolis to resume normal activities immediately after the #EndSARS protest.
Mr Olasunkanmi Olaleye, the commissioner for education, Oyo State, disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday in Ibadan.
According to Olaleye, the directive was after a careful review of the situation in the Ibadan metropolis as promised by Governor Makinde in a state broadcast on October 20.
This was after the governor ordered the closure of all schools, private and public, in the Ibadan metropolis for three days and promised to review the situation on October 23.
Olaleye said the governor thanks the youths who have been cooperating with security operatives in the state to ensure peace and order.
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