BN denies buying votes

(The Star) – Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has dismissed opposition claims that the Government is trying to bribe the people of Kuala Terengganu by approving projects for them ahead of the Jan 17 by-election.

He said all projects announced for the area thus far were projects that were approved earlier by the Government as part of its stimulus package announced late last year.

“All the announcements that we have made here in the last few days were just the implementation of it.

“This is not a political bribe as those projects belonged to the people here.

“We are not buying votes. We are simply implementing plans and projects that have already been identified and approved even before there is a necessity for a by-election,” he told reporters after presenting cheques to government-aided people’s religious schools (SARS) here yesterday.

For instance, Najib said, the allocation given to the schools was part of the RM50mil ap­­proved by the Government last year and was not a new allocation meant to fish for votes.

The money would be disbursed to all 154 SARS nationwide that are registered with the Education Ministry, he said, adding that of that number, 14 were in Terengganu.

Asked about his closed-door meeting with Chinese groups on Friday, Najib said he reminded the Chinese that they had always been treated as part of the society.

He said the Chinese community in Kuala Terengganu had never been side-lined, either by the state or the Federal Government.

“Whatever is allocated to the Malays, they will also get. In the case of Chinese schools here, they are not just getting assistance from the Federal Government but also from the state government.

“So I had appealed to them not to forget what the Barisan Nasional government had done for them and not to be so easily swayed by sweet talk from groups from outside the state,” he said.