Don’t blame Selangor folks for being lured by PN’s RM2 bil stimulus package

THE RM2 bil Perikatan Nasional (PN) stimulus package for Selangor has drawn unprecedented support from Selangorians who have for long been accustomed to the stingy and miserly state government spending despite Selangor being the richest state in Malaysia.

Surely, the state can afford to be generous with allocations for much needed purposes. Fortunately, the Selangor PN and former menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali have sensed the hardship and predicament of the people during the present times and have decided on the stimulus package of RM2 bil.

When the late Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim took over Selangor in 2008, he started building reserves as the coffers were almost depleted by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.

His effort could be excused as reserves needed to be built up despite criticisms that more funds should be spent on urgent programmes in Selangor. When Azmin who is currently the PN information chief took over, it was followed by increasing expenditure for various programmes to benefit the people.

But since Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari who happens to be Azmin’s protégé took over, there has been little spending on crucial needs. The administration stinges on a wide variety of allocations, one of which is the pittance it pays to non-Muslim houses of worship in the annual state budget.

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) Selangor government prides itself as being multi-racial and multi-religious but despite getting so much of electoral support from the voters, pays back little or nothing to them.

Reminiscing BN days

Selangor which once boasted of good roads during the BN days has mostly potholed stretches. Now it is mostly patching up of potholes!

During the BN days, even good roads were re-paved during the elections season and the people liked it as roads became safer and better to ride or drive on.

The Amiruddin Shari administration has been more interested in opening up forest reserves, granite quarries and beautifying rivers instead of helping the people who have been suffering so much from the COVID-19 lockdowns and economic hardship in the post pandemic period.

A lot of the poor in Selangor are having only one meal a day and this is happening in the nation’s richest state which had also been declared a developed state in 2005.

A lot of fertile agricultural land is available in the outlying districts of Selangor which can be opened up for vegetable, fruit, livestock farming and for rearing fish in ponds. All these will lead to the lowering of cost of living for the B40.

However, does the state think or care about this? Selangor’s cost of living is also due to the more than two million foreign workers who push up demand and the price of essential goods. The state needs a holistic food security programme that benefits the poor.

Municipal services have gone down the drain especially in the urban local authorities that are in the constituencies of the indifferent DAP and PKR state assemblymen who are more interested in not rocking the boat rather than bringing in necessary and radical changes for the ratepayers.

This has led to the urban local authorities banking their reserves in fixed deposits (FDs) rather than spending it on essential local needs. This has also been compounded by the poor choice of appointed councillors who are mostly party supporters.

The same can be said about the village security and development committee (JKKK) members, some of whom have not been replaced since 2008.

All local authorities should be made to compulsorily publish their annual reports of their income and detailed expenditure and the money kept as their duty to the ratepayers.

Some parts of Selangor now resemble Third world scenarios with the unkempt surroundings and filthy conditions. The less said about local government incompetency and inefficiency the better. So much of money allocated for municipal expenditure goes to waste due to poor choice of contractors, lack of supervision and corruption.

The PN stimulus package is most welcome as it will surely address the needs of the state as well as the people especially the B40 and even the M40 groups.

In the last 15 years, the Selangor state government has never come up with such a massive stimulus programme to address the various shortcomings statewide.

To criticise the package as impractical is not knowing the potential of Selangor and the assistance it can offer needy Selangorians.

There is so much good that the government can do for the people with wise and competent management of state funds. The Bantuan Prihatin Keluarga Selangor scheme will benefit 65,000 of the state’s B40 with a contribution of RM400 monthly.

A lot of other benefits and hand-outs could be coming with a PN victory in Selangor. The PH had been resting on their laurels and had not expected such a massive challenge to their domination after having vanquished the BN IN 2008. – Aug 9, 2023


V. Thomas is a Focus Malaysia reader.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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