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Najib given a rousing welcome

KUCHING, (Bernama) - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was given a rousing welcome when he arrived at the Pandungan commercial centre to start his walkabout from the city's famous "White Cat" landmark this morning.

Shouts of 1Malaysia in the carnival-like atmosphere greeted him as he strolled along the five-foot path of the shop houses to meet shop owners and members of the public.

Najib, who arrived here yesterday evening, joined patrons at the nearby Song Kheng Hai Ground Food and Recreation Centre to taste the local delicacies like "bongkol", a smoked dessert of rice flour, coconut milk and nipah sugar wrapped in leaves.

The Barisan Nasional Chairman also chatted with BN candidates for the April 16 state election for Padungan, Sim Kiang Chiok and Batu Lintang, Sih Hua Tong, who had joined him for the walkabout.

Meanwhile, the stall owner of Padungan Belacan Bee Hoon known only as towkay Chow said he was very honoured to have the Prime Minister visiting the food centre, and might even consider renaming his stall as Najib's Corner.

He was one of the first 36 stall operators at the centre when it was opened in 1995 by the Kuching City South Council (MBKS).

Najib also dropped by the MBKS flat to visit tenants, including Simi Ayur, 65, who is paralysed from the waist down.

"I'm deeply touched because the Prime Minister had never come to my house before," said the father of three, who was involved in an accident while working as a lorry driver 13 years ago.

Simi, who received a monthly welfare assistance of RM300, said he expressed to Najib his wish that the government helps to build a house on small plot of land he owned at Jalan Batu Kawah, here under a scheme for the poor.

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