Highlighting issues, giving the facts, make up your own minds.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Khalid: Better than all past Umno MBs combined but can he retain S'gor?
Written by Moaz Nair, Malaysia Chronicle
They called it the “broom syndrome” before March 2008. The household broom is oddly enough considered as taboo, inauspicious or inviolable in many societies. Kids are often reminded of the iniquitous witch riding a broom in the celestial firmament. The broom is also considered to bring bad omen by many – never hit a child with a broom, never sweep the house when night falls, never place the broom where you are having your meal, never point at someone with a broom, never keep a broom high up a place, never put a broom at the doorway as it would not bring in wealth. What more, never dish out brooms to those who have underperformed in their work! The “broom syndrome” – a blessing in disguise ̶ did make an impact in the March 2008 General Election in Selangor. It saw the state of Selangor falling to the Opposition.
No more “brooms” but aid
And today, it’s the way forward for the Selangor state government which has a population of 5,411,324 as of 2010.The state's ethnic composition consists of Malay 52.9%, Chinese 27.8%, Indian 13.3%, and other ethnic groups 6% living together harmoniously under a new economic and political direction. Under the present government Selangor has further flourished with industries, agro-industries and economic opportunities to become the richest state in the country. No more “brooms” but aid is given out in various forms to its less than 30 percent less privileged citizens through the people-oriented policies of the state. The people in Selangor have studied the report card of the Selangor state government and they do not have much justification not to continue supporting the incumbent state government in the next general election.
Today, Selangor has been rated as one of the best managed states in the country. Together with the three other Opposition controlled states, they have managed for the past three years pencilling in the highest amount in foreign investments. Penang, Selangor, Kedah and Kelantan attracted RM25 billion in investments ̶ 53 percent of the country’s total investments of RM47.2 billion in 2010. This is undeniably an achievement despite the fact that the Opposition has just governed the state in a short period of time. Selangor has now earned high confidence ratings from among local and foreign investors because of her apposite economic policies. Every citizen of Selangor as well as others in the country are aware of this success and achievements despite all the spin and bilk by the nauseous pro-UMNO media to demean the Opposition-controlled state government. These media, as expected, would not highlight the many achievements of Selangor in the past three years just because the state is under the Opposition. Yet the people are not oblivious to the many achievements notched up by the state.
Tolerates no political gibberish
As for the Menteri Besar (MB) of Selangor (Tan Sri Dato' Seri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim) he is, conceivably, more of Selangor’s business CEO than a politician. Cool, diligent, knowledgeable and with many sparkling ideas he has brought the state of Selangor to become among the best Opposition-ruled states in the country.
Being an industrious and no-nonsense chief executive of Selangor he is also assisted by an equally capable political secretary – a lawyer by training, and a team of conscientious lawmakers in the Selangor State Assembly. Birds of a feather, they have together conscientiously brought Selangor to the high altar of economic development. He may at times sound acerbic when dealing with some shady characters in politics. Even so, many within his circle of policy makers understand his code of actions. He is exceptionally sharp and charmingly witted when making decisions on matters of importance to the well-being of Selangor. He tolerates no political gobbledygook when it comes to the administration of Selangor. Politicians who are the self-seeking type would find no seat in his chartered course. He tolerates no political gibberish from his contemporaries. His background as an astute and successful entrepreneur in the past has moulded him into becoming such an accomplished leader within a very short period. This has indeed become the envy of so many aspiring politicians – those opportunists among them who only know what wily politics is all about, how to exploit politics to enrich themselves and how to clamour for crucial government posts without having any business credentials to their resume.
Off-coloured politicians spewing words of hatred
No amount of political slander and slur against the incumbent MB to weaken him and the state government could dent his popularity among the people of Selangor and the nation. His political foes are now out of ideas on how to taunt the well-grounded fame of this personality.
The Opposition grip on Selangor is the envy of many politicians in the opposite political divide. However, that faction itself has no politicians who could match the grit and merit of the incumbent MB of Selangor. As such, there would always be some off-coloured politicians spewing words of hatred against him to rock the boat and bring down the state Government. This unfortunately is hollow and void, as it would only keep on echoing over them.
The Opposition controlled Selangor state government has achieved so much in the last three years worth emulating by many other states. The three pillars these Opposition states adhere to are competency, accountability and transparency. And there is no avenue for corruption, nepotism and cronyism to haunt the administration in these states. Taxpayers’ money is well utilised and well accounted for. The delivery system is well monitored by a stringent internal auditing process unlike the other states.
Selangor is the most developed state
Selangor today experiences the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the country. It is today the most developed state in the country inhabited by Malaysians of all ethnic groups. The state today enjoys the highest growth rate in the country as compared to the other states. The state overall income increased by 20 percent from RM1.59 billion to RM1.77 billion just within three years. One of the reasons for this success is that all elements of wastage, corruption, nepotism and cronyism are scrupulously weeded out from the administration of the state. This has significantly helped bring in more money to the state coffer and in turn spent wisely to uplift the living standard of the people in Selangor.
The State Government’s revenue increased by RM200 million during the first six months of this year and this is the best financial record over the last 28 years. The State’s cash reserves stood at RM918 million at the end of 2010 and RM1, 100 million at June 2011. Investments have increased by RM557 million as at June 2011 compared to RM668 million at December 2010. Conducive business environment, a business-friendly government, prudent financial management and the admirable delivery system have made Selangor a favourite destination for local and foreign investors.
Coalition of peace and understanding
The incumbent government in Selangor of today is rock solid with representatives from PKR, PAS and DAP paving the way for a better governance. Under this coalition of peace and understanding the State has managed to become a showcase for many other states in the country to try to be like.
With excellent fiscal and management policies the Selangor government is able to come up with many unprecedented people-oriented policies to help the people. This has contented the people of all ethnic groups. Void of wastage through financial leakages and poor delivery system Selangor is able to become a people-centric government as opposed to the previous crony-centric government. The state government has thus allocated for the people RM500 million in its People-Oriented Programmes (MES).
The unprecedented Micro Credit programme for the poor (MimBar) launched in March 2011, for instance, has allocated RM50 million to help the poor with sources generated from debt collection under the Menteri Besar Consolidated Account. The effort is to accomplish programmes to build up a people-empowered-based economy as opposed to a capitalist-based economy that favours the well-connected and rich over the poor.
The Selangor State Government has presented savings fund of RM100 for every successful registration at TAWAS (Selangor Children Inheritance Fund or Tabung Warisan Anak Selangor). At the age of 18 years these children would have the opportunity to receive returns as result of investments in TAWAS. RM1, 000 is given to all children of Selangor citizens from families earning RM1, 500 and below pursuing their tertiary education in all institutions of higher education. RM13.5 million has been allocated for this purpose and another RM5 million for educational welfare of state civil servants’ children.
Under the People Oriented Programme (MES) is the Golden Age Friendly Scheme (SMUE), which is a unique scheme to look after the welfare of the people of Selangor to help families of senior citizens and disabled persons regardless of gender, race, religion, political belief, economic status and social status. Thus far the state has registered 154, 700 senior citizens and the handicapped and committed an amount RM54 million on this benevolent project involving 23, 140 of their relatives.
Fund to help children of farm or estate workers
Senior citizens and the handicapped (OKU) registered under this programme would receive RM2, 500 upon their death for funeral expenses. RM49 million has been allotted for this group of citizens since its launch in 2008. Thus far RM19 million has been allocated to 8,303 citizens registered.
The Selangor government has also set up a fund to help children of farm or estate workers. This is to provide educational assistance to farm workers’ children in the form of scholarship to children of the famers for the purpose of financing their education. This fund would also finance the construction and maintenance of schools and hostels for children of farm workers throughout the state. The Government is concerned about their children’s education and has allocated RM2 million for the realisation of this programme.
The Selangor government has since allocated RM16 million for Religious, Chinese and Tamil schools to help improve their schools. Issues on schools built on private lands, place of worship and housing in estates, health facilities have been resolved amicably with the cooperation from developers and the share or stakeholders. Aid is given to those in the estates for their health care. RM522, 000 was distributed to the 97 Tamil-school PTAs this year in the whole of Selangor just recently to benefit Tamil schools.
Help reduce the financial burden of the poor
As from June 2008 Selangor provides free use of water supply for the first 20 cubic meters for domestic consumers. This is to help reduce the financial burden of the poor. RM150 million has been spent on giving free 20 cubic meters of water to the consumers.
The Foundation Dar Al Qard Al Hasan Wa (YDAQAHS) was established in 2008. Microcredit schemes Selangor (SkimSel) was introduced to reduce household poverty, particularly in rural areas. SkimSel adopts a simple method of financing, compliance-based and rigorous credit discipline, without security, without sureties and without legal action.
Through the Free Health Scheme to women, the state government approved a total of RM1 million to provide 56,000 women the opportunity to undergo free mammogram screening. A People’s Dialysis Centre has been set up by the government in Hulu Kelang, Field Park, Ampang and Jalan Kebun.
RM30 million has been allocated to increase the income of families and small entrepreneurs in the state. Another RM7.7 million has been for the repair of low-cost flats of the poor. RM5.2 is for repainting these flats.
To give a lift to their standard of living
The state has helped encourage the poor to own houses by helping them with RM1, 000 to obtain the land title. This has enabled the poor to own a house to give a lift to their standard of living. RM49 million has been allocated for this scheme since 2008.
Royalty earned from land-related business operations such as sand, rocks and minerals increased by 100 percent from RM1, 470,000.000 in 2008 to RM10, 859,084.24 in June 2011 through better regulation of these operating companies. This is an unprecedented earning of RM28, 893,142.56 within three years. RM10 million revenue from sand mines and operations is allocated for the Jom Shopping activity to help the poor and the elderly.
These are only some from among the numerous achievements of the state of Selangor under the stewardship of an able MB. There has not been any budget deficit for the past three years and the state goes for economic productivity before they plan to spend. The policy of the government is to be economically productive, earn-first then spend a portion of the profits on the unfortunate in society.
A shining difference compared to Umno MBs
Tan Sri Dato' Seri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim is the 14th MB of the state of Selangor. He is considered by business and political analysts as the best MB Selangor has ever had. He is a former corporate figure and held the position of CEO (1979-1994) in the government-controlled fund management firm Pemodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB). He later became the CEO of Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd (1995-2003).
Despite being an opposition party member, he retains his positions in various quasi-government organisations due to his broad experience and integrity in business and industry. Among his notable positions include, Director, SIRIM Bhd., Adviser, Islamic Development Bank, Fellow, Institute for Strategic and International Studies and Member of the National Productivity Council.
The chief executive of Selangor’s prowess, popularity and credibility have surpassed many times over the reputation of most UMNO leaders in the country. No UMNO politician in the country could downplay his rising popularity with nutty and daft rhetoric and propaganda. The people of Selangor and the country in general have cherished the MB as a very able leader. His leadership, business acumen and his calm, or rather shy, approach to politics could even make him a capable prime minister of Malaysia. Khalid is not an armchair economist or a businessman like many of the politicians in the country are. He has the razor-sharp business insight in him, is familiar with the nitty-gritty of the economy and knows in dept what constitutes a business and an economic-oriented nation. These are the endearing assets that have made him an ingenious and nifty leader.
But even so, greater men than him have been fallen by treachery and outright electoral fraud. Umno has cast its eyes on 9 key seats in the state. The winning margin for the Pakatan Rakyat is minimal there and it won't be difficult to funnel 'phantom' voters to these areas and wrest the seats away.
Selangor would then fall back to BN. And the biggest losers would be the Selangorians!