The Barisan Nasional (BN) government must be deeply committed in championing the cause of the ordinary people if it wants to remain in power in the next general election and beyond, said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

He said the fall of some of the established parties in other countries, particularly the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, should be a lesson for the BN to constantly serve the people better.

"I was made to understand that one of the reasons LDP lost (in the recent general election) was because the government was said to be out of touch with the people.

"This reminds me and the BN government including LDP in Sabah of the need to always subscribe to our ideals, that is to serve the people and not to be served.

"Let the BN be the champion for all Malaysians," he said in Sabah.

Najib, who is also BN chairperson, said the opposition in the country made an impact in the last general election because the BN then was weak.

"It is not because the opposition is popular but it is because we lost popularity among the people," he said.

In this respect, he called on the BN component parties to work hard to serve the ordinary people.

"We must be committed and not just pay lip service to the people. This is the only way for us to win the hearts and minds of the people," he said.

Minimise disparity in development

On development, Najib assured that the federal government was going all out to minimise disparity in terms of development between Sabah and Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.

"That's why we give big allocations for Sabah and Sarawak with regards to development in rural areas," he said.

Najib said the federal government also recognised the wishes of the people of Sabah and Sarawak to celebrate the formation of Malaysia and declared that Malaysia Day, which falls on Sept 16 annually, would be a national public holiday from next year.

"We recognised that the formation of Malaysia as an independent and sovereign country was an important chapter in the nation's history," he said. - Bernama