Quit acting like opposition, Guan Eng tells Pakatan leaders

By Boo Su-Lyn, The Malaysian Insider

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today told Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state leaders to stop acting as the opposition in governing states under their control.

Lim said PR leaders needed to change their mindsets and focus on administering their respective states well, amid intense speculation that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak may call for snap polls as early as the first quarter of next year.

“Pakatan Rakyat leaders need to change their perception and remember that they are no longer the opposition, but rulers of the state who need to fulfil their responsibilities to the people to the best of their ability,” said Lim during the second PR Mentris Besar and Chief Ministers summit in Shah Alam. 

“Pakatan Rakyat state leaders do not need to be too bureaucratic or tied to protocol because Pakatan Rakyat should preserve a people-focused leadership culture,” he said in a statement released by the Selangor Mentri Besar’s office.

Lim, who is DAP secretary-general, also underscored the importance of wooing civil servants in PR’s efforts to run the state. 

“I advise the Pakatan Rakyat governments to get the support of civil servants and not to abandon them as they are the pulse of a state’s administration,” he said. 

“We must preserve people-friendly values that we had practised before we became state governments. The most important thing we need to know is to differentiate friend from foe.” 

The Malaysian Insider understands that 30 per cent (420,000) of the 1.2 million in the country’s government service are not registered as voters.

This segment, should they be registered, would be significant on whether Barisan Nasional (BN) or PR would form the next administration.

Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak warned PR state leaders against assuming that the 13th general election would be a repeat of their Election 2008 victories.

“Pakatan cannot be too confident that they will remain in power,” he said. 

“Take the 2004 general election for example, where PAS lost Terengganu and won narrowly in Kelantan.” 

BN had for the first time lost its two-thirds majority in parliament in 2008. The loose opposition pact of PKR, DAP and PAS had won four more states — Selangor, Penang, Kedah and Perak — as well as 82 parliamentary seats.

Azizan, from PAS, however, noted that  Kedah voters were getting accustomed to his administration, which has had an increase in revenue through logging.

“Kedah voters are getting more comfortable with Pakatan’s governance of Kedah that practises transparency and successfully increased the state’s revenue through logging,” he said.

Azizan’s warning accords with that of DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, who recently cautioned BN and PR against overconfidence in thinking the results of the next general elections had been mapped out in their respective favour.

The Ipoh-Timur MP said PR needed to take stock of the loss of public confidence in the opposition coalition, which arose not only from setbacks in the Galas and Batu Sapi by-elections, but also from internal turmoil plaguing PR component parties.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said, however, that PR state governments had successfully foiled attacks aimed at derailing their administration.

“Pakatan Rakyat states have faced various challenges for almost three years of their rule, but successfully broke all attempts to disrupt their efforts in reforming the administration of the states,” he said.