Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today reminded elected representatives from the four-party Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition to “walk the talk” in embracing the “People First, Performance Now” concept mooted by him.

Deputy Chief Minister and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president Tan Sri Dr George Chan said during a one-hour meeting with state BN leaders and elected representatives, the premier had focused on trying to solve problems on the ground.

“His (Najib’s) most important message was for us to go down to the people and that BN is the people’s government,” he told reporters after the meeting chaired by Najib at the Four Points By Sheraton Kuching here.

After the meeting, Najib who arrived yesterday for a two-day visit, left by helicopter for a meet-the-people session at Nanga San in Batang Ai.

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, who is also state BN chairman and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president, Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) president Datuk Seri William Mawan Ikom and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Datuk Seri Dr James Masing attended the meeting.

As a follow-up to some of the issues raised, Dr Chan said, the state government would hold a meeting with the Health Ministry to ease congestion in government hospitals, including the Sarawak General Hospital here.

One of the solutions was for the federal government to take over the newly completed Sarawak International Medical Centre (SIMC) at Kota Samarahan which would be temporarily used for treating Influenza A (H1N1) cases, he said.

Meanwhile, William Mawan said SPDP was very receptive to the Prime Minister’s reminder to double efforts in serving the people, especially with his commitment and backing through the 1Malaysia concept.

“We are told to buck up and go down to the ground. That is nothing new to us but when we are reminded, we have to double our efforts,” said William Mawan who is also Sarawak Social Development and Urbanisation Minister.

PBB deputy president and state Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the Prime Minister’s reminder meant elected representatives must be people-orientated.

“Every body knows we are going to have the state election and our term is going to expire so we have to work as usual and give our utmost service to the people, get to know their problems and try to solve them,” he said.

PBB deputy wanita chief Datin Fatimah Abdullah said the BN representatives were asked to take heed in view of the state polls due by 2011 as a BN victory in Sarawak would be a prelude to preparations for the 13th general election.

“It begins with Sarawak and we have to work together and not allow our boat to sink before reaching its destination,” she said.

“The prime minister reminded that we have to inject freshness and vibrancy in our approach and develop our own strategy so that BN is seen as a good brand that is still relevant to the people,” said Fatimah, who is also state assistant minister in the Chief Minister’s Office.

— BERNAMA