Abdul Khalid Ibrahim
11:20AM Jan 5, 2013
2012 has been a productive year for the Selangor state government, and I along with other state leaders begin 2013 with the firm intent of redoubling our efforts to serve the rakyat.
It is saddening to see the deputy prime minister, on the other hand, begin the new year with low class politicking, stating that the people of Selangor have been fooled for four years under Pakatan Rakyat.
In reality, it is Barisan Nasional that has fooled the people of both Selangor and Malaysia for 55 years.
This article intends not to rely on rhetoric, but to provide conclusive evidence regarding the priority given by Pakatan Rakyat and the Selangor government to the welfare of the people as well as our commitment to the highest standards of good governance.
We are confident that comparable evidence cannot be shown by any state administered by BN, including in Selangor before 2008.
In terms of financial management and allocation of funds for welfare programmes, Selangor under Pakatan Rakyat by far outperforms any other Barisan Nasional state, as well as the federal government itself.
When Pakatan Rakyat took over the Selangor state government in 2008, the state’s cash reserves totalled a mere RM760 million.
In a short four years, we have succeeded in increasing this reserve over three-fold, to RM2.5 billion today.
Was this a result of a decrease in spending or allocations?
Certainly not. In fact, the allocations for state sponsored welfare programmes have increased every single year.
This excess of funds was achieved not by spending less, but by eliminating the vast amounts of leakage and corruption that formerly ran rampant in Selangor.
We have taken strong measures to ensure that every sen that belongs to the rakyat is managed with uncompromising integrity and spent carefully for the good of all.
By abiding by these principles, we have ensured that the state’s abundant resources and income are shared equitably among all the people of Selangor, regardless of race, religion or political inclination.
Merakyatkan Ekonomi Selangor (MES)
The Merakyatkan Ekonomi Selangor (MES) programmes reflect a core policy of Pakatan Rakyat which emphasises that all the state’s income and resources should be redistributed back to the rakyat, without any leakage, and without any inappropriate “profits” to interested parties.
The records that have been carefully kept regarding the MES programmes provide indisputable evidence of our commitment to the rakyat’s welfare.
The Pakatan Rakyat state government began the MES programmes as soon as it took over in 2008.
In that year, the MES allocation stood at RM73 million. This sum has risen every year: RM161 million in 2009, RM173 million in 2010, and RM 192 million in 2011.
Up to September, the allocation for 2012 stood at RM165 million; the total amount spent on the rakyat’s welfare via MES programmes in these four years is RM766 million.
Four programmes have been in existence since 2008: the provision of 20 cubic meters of water for free, the grant for students entering universities, (Hadiah Anak Masuk Universiti), the Senior Citizens Scheme (Skim Mesra Usia Emas), and the Children’s Education Fund (Tabung Pendidikan Anak-Anak).
Every year, new MES programmes are introduced. These programmes do not take the approach of the BN federal government, in which cash and goods are given out indiscriminately merely to buy votes.
Instead, at the core of the MES programmes is the concept of sustainable empowerment, in which recipients are provided with capital, training and assistance to ensure their own ability to independently face all manners of economic challenges without having to rely on anyone else.
The total number of MES recipients has also increased consistently since 2008: 1.10 million people in 2008, 1.19 million people in 2009, 1.25 million people in 2010, 1.30 million people in 2011 and 1.34 million people in 2012 (until September).
Detailed evidence regarding our commitment to the people’s welfare can be perused in the full MES report on its official website.
More focus on the rakyat, less politicking
The evidence above incontrovertibly demonstrates that the deputy prime minister’s comments are typical of Umno leaders who are so desperate that they are willing to make bare-faced lies to the people.
What did the deputy prime minister do as Johor menteri besar when monopolising contracts were given to Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary?
Why was it that the people of Johor had to endure some of the highest water tariffs in Malaysia?
At the federal level now, when will he stop dilly dallying on returning the water industry to the state government, as mapped out in the Water Services Industry Act 2006 – a process begun by the BN government themselves?
The deputy prime minister should think carefully before making accusations against the Pakatan Rakyat state government in Selangor.
The BN federal government tabled a deficit budget yet again in 2013.
Yet, there was still space in this deficit budget for unending election goodies, ahead of the approaching 13th general election. Worse yet, the total federal debt stands at a staggering RM500 billion.
In vast contrast, Selangor has boosted its cash reserve three-fold and tabled five successive balanced budgets, in which priority has always been given to long-term investments that will benefit present and future generations.
This reflects the principles of the Pakatan Rakyat state government which refuses to sacrifice the economic well-being of our children and grandchildren merely to win elections via suspect methods.
If indeed they are statesmen, we call upon those involved to stop throwing baseless accusations about and contest with honour. If the prime minister as Selangor Umno chairperson has failed to weaken the spirits of Selangor’s people, there is no reason for the deputy prime minister to try.
ABDUL KHALID IBRAHIM is Selangor menteri besar.