What it takes to be Perak MB - A Kadir Jasin

FEB 18 - I think we can afford to let the sensational news of PKR Elizabeth Wong’s nude photos marinate a while longer before we joint (sic) the cookfest. In the meantime feel free to let your imagination be as creative as you like.

For now, I would like to post the 2nd part of my kopitiam conversations with several veteran politicians – ex-Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen -- and lawyers, who are familiar with the Constitution and past political crises.

In this post, we’ll talk about the Menteri Besar, Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, and the things he should and should not have done as he hangs on to power and tries to defend the legitimacy of his government.

Zambry is an intellectual with a PhD after his name. When Anwar was in Umno, Zambry was a very strong supporter of Anwar Ibrahim, like Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. But both stayed on when Anwar was sacked.

He has the great opportunity to introduce changes to new government and lead these changes in BN.

He could inspire the voters in Perak with an inspiring policy statement as to how he proposes to take Perak forward and what changes he has in mind.

So far, however, he has employed the same old tired style, which people have rejected.

Saying, “I am the MB for all” sounds like Abdullah Ahmad Badawi saying “I am the PM for all Malaysians.” Of course you are the MB for all.

Reducing the number of Exco members to six was good but when media asked for the reason, the reply was very disappointing. He said he could have between four and 10, and chose six.

If he had said, bearing in mind we are facing a very serious economic recession: “I decided to reduce the size of government to save money. I think seven of us can manage” would have been brilliant. Period.

We just have to be efficient. This will show to the public the beginning of change.

Then next day he appointed four advisors and gave the posts to MIC, Gerakan and UMNO, and said these advisors are as important as Exco members. So he is creating posts for BN component parties. Therefore, nothing has changed.

The Perak voters unequivocally rejected both the MIC and Gerakan in the 2008 general election. Why then brought them in by the backdoor? The MIC and Gerakan should have been principled enough to reject the appointment.

They should have the honour to tell their respective communities that “you rejected us in the election, so you do not have the right to have representation in government. If you want us to represent you, you must vote us in.”

Instead MIC got the cheek to be demanding and asked for the Speaker’s post.

Even if he wants to win back lost seats and must show that he is the MB for all, he surely can choose other more outstanding Chinese and Indian representatives.

Surely there are enough outstanding, honest and intelligent Indians and Chinese outside MIC and Gerakan in Perak who would be willing to make sacrifices and perform public service.

Approach them, offer them these advisory posts but salaries and allowances must be less than that of Exco members. Then people will see that the new MB really means what he says, i.e. being the MB for all.

Then why did he leave out the Orang Asli who are numerous in Perak and representatives of the NGOs? The MB must reach out to everybody.

He must come out with a policy statement to say he is against corruption, cronyism and only those who are clean and with integrity will be called upon to serve the state.

He wants his Exco to declare their assets. But he must make the rakyat believe that the declaration of assets is serious and transparent.

He should be visiting all districts and as many villages as he can to listen to the problems faced by the rakyat. If he can’t solve them within two weeks, he must give them reasons. He should promise efficient and prompt service.

He must insist that District Officers live in their respective districts and not in Ipoh. He said he wants to see projects implemented on time with no cost over-run.

His office is open to all – to those who voted for BN and those who voted against. He should try to solve all the rakyat’s problems. He must promise actions. Promises alone are not enough. He wants to be judged by results.

If he does all these, the voters will know that this BN MB means business when he says he wants to bring changes to the state.

Only change can help ensure BN’s survival. Failing which the voters will send BN back to the Opposition’s bench in the coming general. – akadirjasin.com

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