Where it is hurting for Umno cronies

By Tony Pua, Malaysian Mirror

Umno offensives against the Selangor state government are caused by Umno cronies who could no longer line their pockets.

The Umno Selangor leaders such as Khir Toyo and Noh Omar are trying to outdo each other in maligning the Selangor state administration over some of its key policies. 

Even the Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has put his foot in, accusing the state of mismanagement especially with regards to the issue of sand-mining and the provision of water services in Selangor.

Their motivations cannot be clearer when one doesn’t see any Umno leader berating Abdul Ghani Othman’s Johor administration where the worst cases of illegal sand-mining and sand-smuggling occurs despite the fact that these issues have been widely highlighted by the media. 

What is more, Muhyiddin had the cheek to tick off Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim over his determination to maintain water tariffs and improve the quality of water services in the latter’s dispute with Syabas, a subsidiary of Umno-linked Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd. 

This is despite the fact that the Deputy Prime Minister’s own home state of Johor had suffered the highest water tariffs in the entire country post-water privatisation, while at the same time having to endure severe water shortages rationing in major townships such as Kluang and Batu Pahat as recent as months ago.

The reasons for the above are crystal clear. The determination of the state government to reduce patronage and corruption, maximize government revenue and to improve the quality of public services without increasing the financial burden of the rakyat is hurting the pockets of the Umno cronies in Selangor who are used to the ways of Barisan Nasional.

The Selangor state government vehicle, Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd (KSSB) today manage the issuance of permits for sand-mining in the state. For every sand mine, genuine operators obtain their permits via open tenders or requests for quotations where direct negotiations are no longer entertained. 

As such, “Ali-baba” licensees under the previous regime who reaped easy profits by securing the permits via patronage and subsequently subcontracting the actual mining work for quick and easy profits are no longer viable as they’ll either be disqualified or outbidded by genuine operators.