Selangor Focuses on the Development of Mind and Soul – Halimah


(Q & A) The Pakatan Rakyat Government in Selangor moved in class after the 13th General Election when they were given a second term to steer the state. Armed with transparency, which is the principle of the Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, he was most certainly helped by a caliber lineup of executive councillors.

One of them is Dr Halimah Ali, who holds the portfolio of the Executive Councillor in charge of Education, Higher Education and Human Capital Development.

She is now 53 years of age, but her passion still burning to translate the meaning of Surah Saba’, verse 15 as the essence of the process “human effectiveness” of the residents in the most advanced state.

The following is an interview by a reporter from Harakah, ARIF ATAN and SAIDAH HAIRAN with Dr Halimah at the State Secretariat Building in Shah Alam recently.

HARAKAH: What were the challenges you encountered when you first held the post of a State Government Exco after the GE-12?

DR HALIMAH ALI: In my first term, among the things that I had to go through was to analyse the situation of people in Selangor. This meant that I needed to educate the people in Selangor so that we could later achieve the status of an “Ideal, Progressive, Prosperous and Welfare State”.

For the goal in the direction of the Selangor Government 2025 action framework to be real, certainly to drive the development of human capital is among the main core, apart from physical development. Therefore, our focus is on how to develop the mind and soul of the people so that the quality of people in Selangor can make the state government’s vision possible.

It is the translation of what I took from Surah Saba’, verse 15 (which says “Eat from the provisions of your Lord and be grateful to Him”) till we reach a level possible for Selangor to become the best state and forgiven by Allah. We do not want physical development to scratch human progress till it finally slips towards extinction. May Allah keep that away.

“Return to being” is the meaning behind the name Darul Ehsan?

That’s for sure. Darul means state. Ehsan is in the context of our plural society, there are Muslims and non-Muslims. Ehsan basically means excellent. So, this is a state that promises excellence in all respects. We do not just want it to be an expression, but we want to equip the people of Selangor with excellence, only then can this state be an excellent Darul.

Thus, we have made the SPIES model (Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, Social) a reference in human capital development programmes in Selangor. We want to execute scheduled human development and consciously guide its spiritual value from the home to the grave.

The people in Selangor are good-hearted people; they are strong in spirit and are aware that Allah is always watching. So, they would be ashamed to do evil when there is excellence. It is a spiritual matter.

In physical terms, in Selangor, there are now 5.8 million residents because many want to be citizens of this state. Therefore, we want the people of Selangor to be healthy and strong. They are able, from the tips of their hair to the tips of their toes, to do good.

Currently, the Ministry of Health has been voicing that one third of Malaysians are suffering from diabetes, (and) high blood pressure. These will later on be attached to kidney disease, cataract, heart disease and so on. This means that in terms of physical aspects, we are not trained to make health a culture.

Yes. The way we live today almost seems like we have a reservation to contract those diseases in 20 or 30 years. The result? Productivity falls even though the individual is good spiritually, but not healthy. This is difficult. Even a Pak Imam who is in his early 30s already has heart disease, (and) stroke. So, there is the inability to work at a maximum level.

Apart from that, what else?

For the second characteristic, physical also means that we do not want knowledgeable people who do not act with knowledge. Knowing something is not good but still doing it. Sungai Klang for example should be the water source for the people of Selangor. There is no actual need for Selangor to buy water from Pahang because Selangor has three rivers – Sungai Klang, Sungai Langat and Sungai Selangor.

Why can we not use Sungai Klang for the people of Selangor? Because of pollution. Who pollutes? Is it the monkey in the jungle? (Laughs). We know that this river has physical features. Dumping oil in the river like the recent diesel (dumping) into Sungai Selangor. That is not acting with knowledge.

Our goodness is also evaluated through physical action. To only intend to help people but do not, that is what we do not want. Physical means hands, feet and the rest of our senses used as human beings. Intent and direction. Only then we will become prosperous. What is intended to be done and what cannot be done by our body.

What about the third feature in the SPIES formula?

If we follow government policies since independence, intellectual foundation is reading, writing and counting. But we add to it thinking functionality. Then only can we solve many problems. For example, why are Malays, after 56 years of independence, still the champion of poverty? Why is it that Terengganu, which has oil, become a poor state?

Therefore, we want to train the people of Selangor to think analytically and critically so that they can choose wisely. For example, let’s look at the election. It is a huge duty. If someone selects wrongly, without analysing the person (candidate) or the party to be selected, they are the one who needs to accept the consequences for not making the right choice.

Unfortunately, all these while, the people are not trained to think analytically and critically.
Another example. Why are Malays, Chinese and Indians still fighting? The spirit of racial unity is small. Why? Once again, it is because they are unable to think. There is no mutual respect of the needs of different races and religions.

It does not mean that we must be liberal. No. About sects, Shi’ah. The fight is inexhaustible on the 20th or 8th rak’ahs. Fighting about optional matters, but what is compulsory and obligatory is not done. How is that?

We fight over little things because we are not able to think. As a result, we are unable to solve problems. In fact, we are the ones who create it, (and) add to the problems. To make Selangor prosperous, the people must be able to think holistically.

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