Sidelining Pakatan Rakyat states

(The Nut Graph) ARE federal earnings funded by taxpayers in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) states returning to benefit the public in those states?

What's clear in the case of Selangor is that funds are used for development but are not channelled through the state government. That has become clear in Penang as well, where promised funds for Georgetown's heritage status have not been delivered to the PR-governed state.

In the second and final part of an interview with The Nut Graph, Selangor executive councillor Dr Xavier Jayakumar talks about the round-about manner in which the federal government handles funding meant for the state through various ministries. It appears to be similar to the problems opposition Members of Parliament face when requesting for the Prime Minister's special constituency fund.

Xavier, who is the Sri Andalas assemblyperson from Parti Keadilan Rakyat, says that as a result, it is unclear how much and for what purpose federal funds for state development are used.

TNG: The Selangor government has been accused of incompetency. How has it been learning the ropes of governance?


Xavier Jayakumar: I agree that we didn't expect to be ruling Selangor. And it is not easy because Selangor is the richest, most developed state and the demands are tremendous. I think we've come to a stage where we understand better how the system works. I think we understand at least 80% to 90% of how the system works. We are encouraged that we can now move into implementation of projects and programmes.

But at the same time there is a lot of federal government interference in terms of limiting our financial resources. Of the federal government's revenue for income tax alone, 24% comes from Selangor. Previously, there were a lot of federal projects that were implemented in Selangor through the state government at the time. But now the funds are not coming in the sense that the state is not given the privilege to access these funds. The funds are being disbursed through different sources without the state government having any say as to how they are allocated.

Meaning, federal agencies in the state?

Yes, the funds go directly to them without going through the state. They have a Special Development Office (SDO) which they opened in Glenmarie, and the funding goes through that office without involving the state system.

For example, previously the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development used to give the state money to service all the kampungs and rural areas. Now we don't have the funds at all. We are being pressured by [ketua-ketua] kampung for basic amenities in their villages. Funds from the Housing and Local Government Ministry for things like parks, recreational areas and the environment have also dried up. The ministry conducts its own programmes through the SDO. The town councils don't get those funds anymore. Whatever the SDO does with federal funds given to it, the state government doesn't know.

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