Prime Minister Najib Razak took his message to the people here today telling them the government has big dreams and that he is committed in realising big developments in sabah.

“We are not a huge nation but we are big in spirit and we have big dreams,” he said at an informal gathering with residents from around Penampang district today.

“We need the support of the people and hope this will be translated into support for the Barisan Nasional,” said the prime minister, who had earlier spent nearly an hour at the weekly tamu or farmers’ market in Donggongon township.

He said his visit to the tamu was a way for him to meet the people and to know their problems or concerns.

Noting that Barisan was not able to win the Penampang parliamentary, as well as its Moyog and Kapayan state seats in the last general election, Najib said the government had however never sidelined the people there.

Barisan incumbents Bernard Dompok in Penampang, Philip Lasimbang in Moyog and Edward Khoo in Kapayan were defeated in the 2013 general election.

“Barisan has not won Penampang as yet but we have not neglected the people.”

He said that a RM280 million grant for flood mitigation works was among the numerous federal government-funded projects in the district.

Najib said during his visit to the tamu he realised that the area needed an upgrading and decided on the spot to provide RM8.5 million for this purpose.

He said Sabah had progressed much over the years and credited this to the close working relationship between the federal and Sabah governments.

Najib also thanked the state administration, headed by Chief Minister Musa Aman and his deputy Joseph Pairin Kitingan, as well as other members of the Sabah cabinet for their cooperation with Putrajaya.

“If we are given the mandate, we will bring more development. Our record is clear. We have poured billions of ringgit into Sabah,” he said.

“There was a prime minister for 22 years who did not do as much for Sabah,” Najib said.

Accompanying him during the walkabout were Musa, Pairin as well other Sabah Barisan component leaders.

Upon arriving at the tamu, Najib was adorned with a sigah or Kadazandusun headgear.

During his visit, he made a point to stop and chat with traders and asked about the produce they were selling and how their business was faring.

Najib stopped by the stall of Annie Loh and bought a packet of locally-grown coffee.

Loh appeared delighted when Najib told her that among his favourite brews was coffee grown in Sabah’s interior Tenom district.

The prime minister also stopped by the stall of Stella Boulu and asked about the locally-grown tobacco she was selling.

“He appeared intrigued when I told him some people also chewed tobacco with camphor and beetlenut,” said Stella of Kampung Sarapong in Penampang.

At the tamu, Najib also obliged an invitation to sample local durian and tarap, a local version of the common cempedak fruit. He sat cross-legged on a mat in the middle of the market, along with Musa, Pairin, newly-appointed Senator John Ambrose and other leaders, to taste the produce of Sabah.

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