Saturday, March 20, 2010

Emotional homecoming for Najib in Lipis

Prime Minister Najib Razak's one-day visit to Kuala Lipis, his first to his birthplace since becoming the prime minister on April 3 last year, was steeped in meaning.

"I'm truly touched when the people of Lepeh (Lipis as it is pronounced here) told me I've come back to Lepeh. I'm moved by the welcoming ceremony arranged for this occasion," he said during a get-together with Lipis Umno and Barisan Nasional today.

Accompanied by wife Rosmah Mansor and mother Rahah Mohd Noah, the prime minister said since this morning when he attended the 50th anniversary of the Rural and Regional Development Ministry and visited the house where he was born in Bukit Bius, he was filled with emotion.

Over 5,000 people thronged Dataran Lipis to welcome Najib at the ministry's event.

Najib, who is Pekan member of parliament, said he was moved when he was offered to contest the Pekan parliamentary seat in the 2004 general election despite the less than encouraging result in the previous poll.

"In the 1999 general election, I had problems in Pekan. I only won with a 241-vote majority. I love Lepeh but I was confident that Pekan voters would accept me," he said.

Najib was born on July 23, 1953 when his father, the second prime minister of Malaysia, Abdul Razak Hussein and Rahah lived in Kuala Lipis.

Speaking at the ministry's anniversary celebration, Najib said he was excited when Rural Development Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal said that the event would be held in Lipis.

"In fact, my mother also said she would come to Lipis," he said.

House to turned into museum

He later visited the house where he was born at Bukit Buis which is now being used as the official residence of the Pahang state secretary.

Najib, Rosmah and Rahah arrived at the house at 1.25pm and spent about 30 minutes there. Several of Najib's pictures when he was growing up were also put on display at the house.

The two-storey bungalow that was built in the 1920's was the official residence of Abdul Razak when he was the Pahang state

The house will soon be turned into a museum.

The president of Lipis District Council Abu Jamal Nordin said almost RM1 million was spent for conservation of the house.

However, an additional RM640,000 was needed for last stage works to outfit the museum and its opening is expected to draw tourists as well as make Kuala Lipis a tourist destination with a historical heritage theme.

Ensure BN remains relevant

Meanwhile, at the event with Lipis Umno, Najib announced an allocation of RM15.4 million to upgrade rural water supply for Kampung Dada Kering, Kampung Pagar Sasak, Kampung Petola and Kampung Mun.

Najib hoped that local leaders would continue to play their role in helping the people and in conveying their aspirations so that BN remained relevant.

"People are becoming more educated and there are now a huge group of voters who are not members of any political party but will be voting based on policies, issues, current leadership and whether a political party was fighting for their cause," he said.

Najib said the people would not be looking at other parties if Umno and BN continued to fight for their interests.

- Bernama

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