An open letter to Azmin Ali, Menteri Besar of Selangor

23 September 2014

Dear Azmin Ali,

Selangor gets a new menteri besar today in you and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) gets to continue running the country’s wealthiest state after a messy nine months of politicking that has left people wondering why it even happened.

How different will you be from the previous occupant of the office in Shah Alam, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim?

You cut your teeth in politics, serving Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from early in the PKR de facto chief’s political career, while Khalid has been a corporate man for most of his life and burst into the political limelight in the 2008 general election.

In the past six years, we have seen Khalid turn from political greenhorn to a man who shook his own party and coalition, sacked his allies, made deals after years of rejecting them, and hurt PR from the inside.

Here is what we expect from you as you make your debut as the leader of the state government of Selangor.

1. You must avoid back room deals with powerful individuals. One theory floating around is that some powerful lobby was always concerned that Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail would have been a stumbling block to one-sided transactions, etc.

2. You must consult the Selangor people on major projects and be willing to explain the rationale on controversial deals such as the Kidex expressway.

3. You must be fair and even-handed in dealing with minorities in Selangor. For example, instead of staying on the sidelines, you must be willing to speak out and act when the rights of others are trampled upon. The Khalid administration did not cover itself with glory in the handling of the seizure of Bibles earlier this year.

4. You must be prudent in using the RM3 billion funds in the state’s coffers. This money belongs to the rakyat, and not PR.

5. You must remember that you owe your allegiance and loyalty to the rakyat, the same small men and women who have supported PKR since its inception and have stood by you and your party even during the most trying days, when it was unfashionable and costly to be a PKR supporter.

The powerful and the connected may demand a pound of you but ultimately, you are where you are today because of that housewife in Sekinchan or that teacher in Subang Jaya.

6. You must remember that this is PR’s one shot – the last chance to show Malaysians that it has the ideas and policies to run not just the wealthiest state in Malaysia, but the country also. After all, the “Kajang move” was all about removing the insipid Khalid and replacing him with the dynamic Anwar, who was going to use Selangor as a frontline state for inclusive and just policies.

7. There is no honeymoon period. You have to hit the ground running and do well from Day One. Unfair? Not really.

The people in the state have had to put up with a lot of nonsense of late. This is the laundry list of shame: betrayal by a coalition partner; seeing the Constitution and the rule of law trampled; witness a menteri besar refuse to walk away from his position gracefully; seeing PKR stumble with one snafu after another.

There is little patience among voters for more dithering and mistakes.

8. You are a public official. There is no aspect of your life that can be nicely carved aside as private.

For example, if there is a deal brokered between you and a financial institution or another business entity, it has to be declared to your political party and to the state assembly.

9. You risked arrest and were part of thousands of Malaysians who marched in favour of free and fair elections.

You have been threatened with detention without trial and other draconian laws by a regime that has shown little respect for freedom of speech and disdain for the rule of law. You have been fighting the establishment for more than 20 years.

Being the MB does not make you part of the establishment.

10. It is better to be remembered for doing the right thing and for standing up for the right principles than amassing wealth and influence. Would you rather be Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, or Marcos?

11. Your report card will be marked by the voters in three or four years, and not by Jais or Mais or Umno power brokers or Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad or Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Getting a ringing endorsement by Utusan Malaysia or any of the mainstream media is a death knell and not something to write home about.

12. Your promise is to the people of Selangor. All of them, not just the civil service or your own party. You are the MB for all of them. Serve them well. Praise will come from all quarters, not just the civil service or other vested interests, when it is due.

Azmin, you carry a heavy burden after what has happened the last nine months and even from PR’s second term as the Selangor government from 2013.

Most of the issues have been self-inflicted, either by your party, some officials or even allies. Make the most of the remaining mandate left to show that you are the right choice and that the Selangor Sultan has chosen well.

All the best, to you and the people of Selangor. – September 23, 2014.

  1. #1 by Justice Ipsofacto on Wednesday, 24 September 2014 - 8:53 am

    Now lets get going.
    And on the double!

  2. #2 by Noble House on Wednesday, 24 September 2014 - 9:27 am

    All eyes will be on you, Azmin! Remember in this time and age information can no longer be kept away from the public. Here are a few tasks you should look into:

    1. If proven capable, appoint Hasnul Baharuddin (PAS-Morib) and Saari Sungib (PAS-Hulu Kelang) as state Excos for the solidarity example without which Selangor would be under a new administration other than Pakatan Rakyat.

    2. Replace those conservatives especially the one in charge of religious affairs with the moderates from PAS.

    3. Have a recognized standard of quality. Do away with those Excos who are not up to the mark and rid your administration of those deadwood.

    Godspeed, Azmin. May you take Selangor to greater heights.

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 24 September 2014 - 10:19 am

    D 1 who criticised most is now in d limelight
    S’gor is his stage
    Will his cronies n supporters b preferentially rewarded?
    Make or break, we will C, evaluate, n judge in 2018
    Hope by dat time, S’gor is NOT near bankrupt n sucked dry by cronies
    Who knows? Crystal ball ………

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