Reserves to be boasted about or to be prudent?



21 OCTOBER 2013


The Selangor Government, under the leadership of YAB Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Abdul Khalid bin Ibrahim (TSKI) places much importance on the financial stability of the state in efforts to continue excellence in state administration.

TSKI has also prepared some detailed planning to use state reserves collected since leading Selangor as a result of prudent and orderly spending practices. Even more so when the Federal Government failed to respect the spirit of federalism, thus causing many infrastructural developments in Selangor to not receive proper provisions from the Federal Government.

Although the Selangor State is the largest contributor to the national economy in terms of tax revenue of over 23% in 2012, federal allocations for state development is not commensurate. Responsibility to provide infrastructure in the state has always been neglected despite the responsibility being under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government, which is extravagantly collecting various forms of taxes.

As a dignified state government, the Selangor Government will not beg to implement development in this state but has in our best, prepared by providing a strong economic and financial position.

Although the Federal Government has promised to build a third bridge in Klang to reduce traffic congestion, and in fact has held a glorious ground-breaking ceremony for the project, after losing in the GE-12 in 2008, not even a stick can be seen to this day.

The Pakatan Rakyat Government had to use at least RM300 million of state reserves to fulfil the promise which was not kept by the Federal Government to the people of Selangor.

This is similar to the attitude of the Federal Government which often deflects the issue of finalising the restructuring of the water industry which has made TSKI more cautious in using savings in preparation for when the Federal Government continues to favour concessionaires and betray the rights and interests of the people of Selangor. The State Government is determined to acquire the water industry in line with the laws enshrined in the Water Services Industry Act or WSIA.

TSKI’s administration has also provided funds from the state reserve in preparation for the need to construct a new hospital in Klang if case the Federal Government continues to be indifferent towards the fate of the people, who are forced to sleep on the sidewalk at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital at the moment because of overcrowding and the lack of beds. The Selangor Government is willing to provide funds even though the construction of hospitals is solely the responsibility of the Federal Government.

Actually, the three examples above are among TSKI’s plans in spending the state reserves accumulated over years since 2008. Indeed, the practice of saving is far more difficult than spending. It requires high commitment and personality, that it is hard to find an example and role model today. While there is a line-up of examples given in the Auditor-General’s Report of leaders who are “clever to spend” (spendthrift).

Definitely, the bitterness of collecting state funds is merely to implement development for the welfare of the people, even that was after thorough planning. To have a large amount of state reserves is not done with intent to show a beautiful figure on the closing date of the account. It is far from wanting to boast on paper. It only sounds naughty and childish.

It is TSKI’s natural attitude to not want to talk about a plan before any results can be seen. Thus, all the plans above are not publicly touted.

As a result, TSKI is often labelled as the stingiest Chief Minister because it is said to be difficult to approve spending using state reserves. In fact, the constraints and discrimination by the Federal Government is the main reason why TSKI is so careful in spending, even more so since this term has just begun and the period for the GE-14 to conquer Putrajaya is still a long way.

TSKI knows the various labels and nicknames given to him. In fact, he is open and very much appreciates constructive criticism from any leader, be it from Pakatan or Umno-BN. At the same time, TSKI also celebrates the views of the people by having the Budget Dialogue every year to serve as a guide for the state government before presenting budget projections. During the dialogue this time, it was unanimously agreed that the state’s funds should be spent according to the needs and priority, not just a means.

TSKI is confident that the people of Selangor understands and agrees with the manner and approach of the State Government in managing public funds responsibly and based on principles of transparency and accountability. At the same time, the interests of the people is not put aside when a total of over RM1,000 million was spent through programmes under the Merakyatkan Ekonomi Selangor agenda since it was introduced on the 100th day of the Pakatan Rakyat administration. This is evident when Pakatan Rakyat received the 2/3 majority in the 13th General Election because the same approach was adopted in the previous term.

People are still surprised with the disclosure made by the Auditor-General in the Audit Report 2012. The people feel frustrated, angry and many curse leaders when their money is spent fraudulently and wastefully.

Thus, Selangor should remain prudent in spending policies and austere because the mandate and expectations of the people given to leaders is to manage and administer the people’s property, rights and interests. The mandate and responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the State Government leadership team under the helm of TSKI.


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