7 June 2015.
Amidst the furore of his non-attendance to his own event last Friday, and also shadowed by the earthquake tragedy that have befallen Sabah yesterday, the Prime Minister and his cabinet ministers sped off to meet each other in Saudi Arabia.
The earthquake which had caused several people to lose their lives in Sabah did not cause the Defence Minister and the Home Minister to return home immediately, not at least until Sunday evening the soonest.
According to news reports, both Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein and Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi have been in Saudi Arabia for the past couple of days and could also perform a short umrah with the Prime Minister.
When in Saudi Arabia, the Prime Minister will be visiting the Saudi King, Salman Abdul Aziz Al Saud for an audience.
Also mentioned in the itinerary is the visit to the Makkah Metro depot Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddasah on Sunday. A Malaysian company, Prasarana Malaysia Berhad has been appointed to become its shadow operator after having first won the contract in November 2014.
The Finance Minister II Dato Seri Husni Hanadzlah had stated in an interview last Wednesday that the contract was won due to the strategic partnership between 1MDB and PetroSaudi International. The joint venture incidentally, ended in 2012.
However, the former CEO of Prasarana whom had led the venture to obtain the Makkah Metro contract, denied that the PetroSaudi – 1MDB partnership had helped Prasarana into getting the contract.
This is not surprising, since Malaysian companies have won projects in Saudi Arabia for decades, before the existence of 1MDB and PetroSaudi.
With his political career at stake, boosting an already discredited 1MDB’s image is a priority for the much maligned Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, the latest death toll in the Sabah earthquake reached 19 people as the search and rescue continues on Mount Kinabalu. The latest body to be recovered is of a 12 year old pupil from Singapore.
Many citizens and politicians expressed concerns and sympathies to the tragedy as the state government is working overtime to find the remaining missing persons. Several mountain guides are also touted as heroes in their efforts to rescue stranded mountain climbers.
Deputy Prime Minister has ordered the National Security Council to introduce an early warning system on earthquakes.
As confirmed by his special officer, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also arrived in Sabah on Saturday, albeit to attend a meeting with Perkim. Although his itinerary is uncertain, he can be expected to be briefed by local authorities on the rescue efforts.
It is not known when the exact date for the Prime Minister to visit Sabah. Last month in a gathering in Tawau to rally support for his much condemned leadership, the Prime Minister had said he will visit Sabah more often and give priority to the state.