Najib begins nationwide tour with Kuantan cabinet meeting

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 – The cabinet will hold its weekly meeting tomorrow in Kuantan, the capital of prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s home state Pahang in what is seen as the start of his nationwide tour before calling for a general election.

It has been reported that Kuantan will be the first among many major towns that cabinet ministers will visit in a nationwide tour.

Najib is MP for the nearby Pekan royal town.

The Malaysian Insider understands that ministers will be making pit stops in Bentong, Mentakab and Kuantan to meet with grassroots leaders from the Barisan Nasional (BN).

“Part of the agenda is to solidify and strengthen the machinery in Najib’s state in preparation for the general election,” a source told The Malaysian Insider.

During the recent Umno general assembly, Najib announced that he and his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, will embark on a nationwide tour to meet with party members.

Last Sunday, Najib had a closed-door meeting with Sarawak BN state lawmakers in Miri to discuss the state election planned for this year.

Najib had also met with BN members of parliament earlier in January to gather feedback on holding snap polls.

Political analysts are expecting that the state election will be held simultaneously with the 13th general election.

The federal government is considering holding snap polls only in the fourth quarter of this year to allow big-ticket economic projects to gain traction, delaying earlier plans to seek a fresh mandate in the first half of 2011.

Umno officials and MPs told The Malaysian Insider that Najib now favoured elections only after projects like the construction of the city’s mass rapid transit (MRT) and Sungei Besi development had kicked off.