Think tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU) foresees that Pakatan Rakyat (PAKATAN) will remain as the Selangor state government post 13th General Election (GE13) and win more seats as compared to GE12. 35 state assembly (DUN) seats were won by PAKATAN in GE12. There are 56 DUN seats in Selangor and Barisan Nasional (BN) holds 21 of those seats. The gap between PAKATAN and BN are only 14 seats. If BN won an additional 8 seats, they will retake Selangor. The other nine seats held by PAKATAN are won by a difference of a mere 1000 votes.
KPRU believes that BN will face difficulties in winning even though BN has launched a series of election campaigns and gave multiple election promises during the GE13 in order to win back votes in Selangor. Yet, in a survey conducted by Universiti Selangor (Unisel), it can be seen that 61.4 percent of the respondants believe PAKATAN will remain as the Selangor government as opposed to the other 38.6 percent of respondents that believe that BN will retake back the Selangor government
On the other hand,KPRU also believes that the only one factor that will lead to the loss of PAKATAN in remaining as the Selangor state government is the suspicious increase in registered voters. There is an increase of Selangor voters between 2008 and 2012 of 441,375 voters or a 28.2 percent increase. This increase is enough for BN to retake back the Selangor government. Hence, eligible voters and observers of the voting process are pertinent in ensuring PAKATAN will retain its seat as the PAKATAN lead Selangor government.
KPRU also weighs in several other factors before coming to such a conclusion. These other factors include the reputation of the KEADILAN Menteri Besar candidate, excellent financial management, and the abolishment of water privatisation in proving that the voters’ choice is PAKATAN. This is of course apart from the unusual increase in registered voters. Meanwhile, BN has still failed in its attempts to regain the support from the Malaysian voters. Hence, it is with these considerations, KPRU comes to the conclusion that PAKATAN, will remain as the administrative authority in Selangor.
Selangor Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim is known as an honest and clean man. This is contradictory to the infamous former Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toyo whom is known for his “Khir Toyo Palace” worth RM24 million. Khalid Ibrahim’s image is of a pragmatic, clean, honest and people-centric person. Under the guidance of Khalid Ibrahim, the Selangor government has allocated RM600 million to launch the Localising the Selangor Economy (MES) policy in order to protect the welfare of the Selangor citizens. This includes the Free Water Supply, Selangor Microcredit Schem (SkimSel), Children’s University Entrance Gift, Selangor Child Heritage Fund (Tawas), the Golden Age Friendly Scheme, People’s Tuition Centre, Urban Microcredit Scheme (MiMBAR), Selangor Kindergarten Assistance Scheme (TUNAS) and the People’s Care Assistance Scheme (SiKembar) in which it was done not to affect the State Consolidated Fund. In fact, the funds in the State Consolidated Fund have actually increased.
According to the Unisel survey, the Selangor Menteri Besar, Khalid Ibrahim is well respected by 63.1 percent from the 1,015 respondants in Selangor. During his tenure as a Menteri Besar, he used his knowledge from his experience in the corporate world by using the cash and assets to repay the Talam Corporation’s debt of RM392 million through Menteri Besar Incorporated in order to save the money of the people from being spent in vain by corporations and the BN government.
On the end of the spectrum, in BN’s corner, we have Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, whom as a Prime Minister is accused of being involved in the infamous submarine scandal. A tainted leader reflects a tainted party.
Excellent financial management
Post PAKATAN taking over as the Selangor state government, the Selangor state have adopted the concept of “Value For Money” or “the value is worth the money spent”. This includes setting the tender based on the size of the project as well as the lowest bidder available for each project to ensure that public money is used is worth every single cent. This means that for each project, notwithstanding the size, including the projects worth less than RM20,000, the tenders will awarded through open tender. Under this policy, Local Authorities (PBT) will call upon three to five contractors, to allow then to offer their tenders and in the end the PBT will appoint the lowest bidder.
Not only have that, an oversight system for Government Link Companies (GLC) has also been established. The Selangor state prescribes that each GLCs must present five financial reports each month for audit and evaluation. This is to ensure that there are no fraud occurring.
As opposed to the BN administration which is based on secrecy, PAKATAN deploys a transparent management. It has been the practice of BN to directly award projects to contractors minus the open tender. Thus, under this BN business culture, companies have to go through rigorous obstacles to build relationships with relevant officers to reach an agreement to be awarded governmental contracts.
Instead, PAKATAN prioritizes the open tender practice in which all qualified contractors can compete fairly to be awarded a governmental contract. PAKATAN’s method has curtailed the culture of corruption and brings back faith of investors in Selangor.
Under this transparent business culture, the state of Selangor have attracted investments as much as RM48 billion within the five years of administration and also recorded the highest investment worth in Malaysia.
Other than that, according to the 2011 Auditor General’s Report, the financial state of the Selangor state government was classified as “favourable”. At the end of 31st December 2011, it has been recorded that the Selangor state government have experienced an increase in the the balances of the Consolidated Fund worth RM1.944 billion. The amount is an increase of RM357.13 million as opposed to RM1.58 billion in 2010.
In 2012, the Selangor state also recorded the highest potential for employment opportunities of 18,975 employment opportunities. From the percentage aspect, Selangor state recorded an increase of 31 percent of the employment opportunities in the entire country.
Fair and just allocations to all types of schools
The PAKATAN lead Selangor state government are very concerned about the education of the people in which they provide a fair and equitable allocation to schools of multiple streams. From 2009 to 2013, the Selangor state government have allocated as much as RM105 million and this has benefited schools of all types, included the Chinese schools (SJKC), the Tamil schools (SJKT) as well as the religious schools (SRA).
The allocation under the Selangor state government for education is carried out systematically. The average allocated received by the SJKC, SJKT and the SRA are worth RM160 million a year. The SJKCs and the SRAs each receive the allocation of RM60 million a year and the SJKTs receive an allocation of RM40 million a year. Not only that, private Chinese schools each also receive RM500, 000 a year.
As opposed to the BN policies in defending the single school stream, PAKATAN has shown that it respects the concept of multiple school streams. Under the 55 year rule of the BN administration, the BN government has created a single systematic system to fund schools of different streams, causing the SJKCs and the SJKTs to always face issues with the facilities provided as well as incomplete and old equipment, lack of teachers and etcetera. This have in turn caused the decrease of 55 SJKCs as well as 134 SJKTS in the past 55 years.
In the absence of a systematic allocation system, the allocations of the SJKCs and the SJKTs have long become the toy to fish votes for BN in the GE. In the 15th April, the Interim Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin asserted that schools of different streams will not be left behind under the BN administration, in which according to him, if the BN wins the GE13, allocations for the SJKCs and the SJKTs will be put in the 2013 Budget. Muhyiddins’ speech has been criticized as a tactic to fish for votes for the GE. It has also proved that BN has never prioritized the status of different streams of schools in this country’s education. Also to be noted is that the recent BN manifesto offered the SJKTs to become fully fledged government-aided schools. However, the offers in the BN manifesto sidelines the problems of the insufficient number of SJKTs schools to accommodate the ever increasing number of students.
Apart of the aid given to the primary schools, the Selangor state government does not forget to prioritize the education in the higher education sector. According to the 2011 Auditor General’s report, the academic performance of the students of Universiti Selangor (Unisel) owned by the Selangor state government finds that the academic performance from the years of 2009 to 2010 as satisfying.
The statistic shows that the number of students obtaining the First Class Degree has risen to 154 students in 2010 from 75 students in 2009.
Also the number of students obtaining the Second Upper Class Degree in 2010 has also risen to 2,121 students from 1,020 students in 2009.
Meanwhile, the number of registered students has also increased as much as 1.5 percent in 2011 from 2010.
Although the Selangor state is only one state in entire Malaysia, but the policies implemented are closely related to the offers in the PAKATAN’s manifesto. As one judges the performance of the Selangor state government, one can picture the state of the country post PAKATAN taking over the administration of the federal government.
Abolishing the Privatisation Policy of Water Resources
Policy of privatization of natural resources such as electricity, roads, telecommunications, transportation and water resources began with former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad. Mahathir used the excuse of helping Bumiputeras as rationalization for the privatization policy, because according to him, privatisation will develop the trade industry of the Bumiputeras. The result is the natural resources are monopolized by elite Bumiputeras and enriching certain quarters. This forces the people to shoulder the payments to use natural resources such as water which is actually free.
The PAKATAN lead Selangor state government have launched the 20 cubic meter of free water policy three months after taking control of the Selangor state administration. For the Selangor people using individual meters, the cost of 20 cubic meters free water will be automatically subtracted. For low cost flats, they will enjoy free water through the Free Water Rebate Scheme (Safwa). According to the survey conducted by Unisel, 91 percent of the respondents support the free water initiative.
Post implementation of this policy, the water usage rate of Selangor has in fact experienced a decrease. According to the Selangor Water Monitoring Committee Report, it is found that for each usage of 35 cube meters of each connection in 2007, the water usage have decrease as much as 32.8 cubic meters for the same connection in 2011. This proves that the free water initiative has educated the people in planning their water usage to avoid indirect wastage.
The Selangor BN realizes the success of the 20 cubic meter free water initiative has added to the growing changing perception towards privatization. The people also realized that water is a natual source which can be freely shared. Hence, Selangor BN is taking claimed that the PAKATAN lead Selangor government stole the idea from the Selangor BN’s manifesto.
However, the free water initiative is only the first step to break the privatization policy. The main objective of the Selangor state government is to end the privatisation of water sources in Selangor. Hence, the Selangor state government have made offers worth RM9.65 billion to begin the take over of the water concession companies that provide water to Selangor, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur.
These water concession companies include Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd, Konsortium Abass Sdn Bhd and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Holding (Splash).
Implementation of the restructuring of the water services industry means that 5 million people in Selangor will be paying RM2000 respectively. Thus, the state government has decided to divide the profits after taking over water concession companies.
This is the main objective of PAKATAN, in which it differs from the privatization logic implemented by BN. After five years of PAKATAN administering the Selangor state, the people have begun to believe that the policies of ending the privatization can be realised and it will benefit the welfare of the Selangor state people.
According to the Unisel survey, 62.6 percent of respondents favour the decision of the Selangor state government to take over Syabas.
The PAKATAN lead Selangor government is a state government, it does not enjoy huge resources provided by the federal government. In the past several years, it has played a role as a successful state government. All the initiatives and policies are designated for the welfare and benefit of the people. It differs from BN’s attitude of usually toying with their responsibilities. The controversial installation of high power cable that has been haunting the residents Rawang for 8 years, was finally settled under the administration PAKATAN and efforts of the Rawang residents has forced the Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) to propose an alternative route is also a good example to highlight weaknesses in the ability of BN.
In the event that PAKATAN does lose in the GE13 directly after the prediction by KPRU, the only logical reason for that situation is that it is caused by the unusual rise in registered voters. New registered voters in the state between 2008 and 2012 has increased by 441.375 people or 28.2 per cent, thus, it is a threat to the PAKATAN lead Selangor state government. For BN that thrives in dirty politics, the unusual rise in registered voters can be seen as another chess play by BN to stop PAKATAN from retaining its powers in Selangor. Hence, eligible voters and those who oversee the voting process are crucial to end BN’s dirty political culture.