Can There Be Reform in the Khalid led UMNO Run Selangor Government?

On March 8, 2008, the rakyat gave PR a clear mandate to form a new government and run it. And we fail to understand why, after winning the election, UMNO, instead of PR, is still running the state government.

By Kent Young

It was reported that Raja Petra, in a dialogue with Anwar in London on Sunday, threatened to pull out support in the Galas by-election as PR states had failed to reform.

I am just as disillusioned as any PR supporter as I watch the development in Selangor since PR took over the government two and a half years ago. On March 8, 2008, the rakyat gave PR a clear mandate to form a new government and run it. And we fail to understand why, after winning the election, UMNO, instead of PR, is still running the state government.
The entire administration has remained intact with the same State Secretary, same State Legal Adviser, same State Treasurer, same heads of departments, same DOs, same YDPs and same CEOs of GLCs, of the same UMNO mentality and work ethics running exactly the same shows. The only difference we see are the faces of VIPs officiating state functions have changed from that of Khir Toyo and Ch’ng Toh Eng to that of Khalid and Ronnie Liu. 

Is it possible to push for reform with just a handful of excos while the entire state government machinery is still with UMNO?  Imagine the frustration of the excos when officers are withholding information from them and making decisions and issuing administrative orders without their knowledge; imagine the helplessness of the councilors when they can do nothing to reprimand those errant officers in the local governments.

One would be too naïve to argue that civil servants in Malaysia are politically neutral and therefore politicians may come and go but civil servants stay. After half a century rule under BN (more aptly, UMNO), UMNO and the government have become synonymous in the mind of many civil servants. It is not unusual to find senior civil servants, heads of departments and CEOs of GLCs who are closely associated with their former political masters. In fact, some were appointed to their positions to help facilitate deals and in many instances, they are also the beneficiaries of those shady deals. It is no wonder that many are still in secret contact with their former bosses and take instruction from them to sabotage any attempt to reform. Some use delay tactics and some simply shelve the projects in hand while waiting for the return of BN to the government. 
Where is the PR’s development plan for Selangor? Where are the poverty eradication programs for the urban and rural poor?  What attempts have been made to improve efficiency of the local governments as promised? What mechanism has been introduced in the state government, its agencies and GLCs to weed out corruption? There is no need for all these, so said the state officers, and so concurred the MB. Therefore life goes on as before in the PR government of Selangor.
Apparently, Khalid is quite contented with the media attention given to HIS exposure of the former MB’s ill gotten wealth and abuses of power. To improve the efficiency of the delivery system and to prevent future leakages and abuses are something he would rather leave to his officers.

The only program that MB could brag about is giving out 20m3 free water and financial assistance to families of deceased persons above 60, and of course, the much talk about but yet to be seen RM50m micro credit scheme. These programs though help to gain popularity, is nothing but an extended welfare scheme and to call them “people oriented economic programs” is a joke.

Is PR lacking in ideas? No. There were many proposals and suggestions put up by party leaders but they were all brushed aside by Khalid who is so determined to keep the party from “interfering” in HIS government.
Is PR lacking in qualified, knowledgeable, experienced and committed leaders to fill some of those posts, or head some reform programs? No. They are many well qualified and committed party leaders waiting to serve the state government and contribute to the efforts of reform. Among them are corporate lawyers, eminent retired judges, doctors, MPs, academicians, even former senior ministers and deputy ministers! But no, Khalid wants none of the party leaders in HIS government.
The warning signal to PR is clear and if Khalid chooses to ignore the electoral mandate for change and continue to run the state independently without giving due regard to the struggle of the party, then it is high time for PR to remove him before the rakyat desert PR.