I have met Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim twice. He is an outspoken man, instead of hypocritical like most politicians.
Compared to the other two Pakatan Rakyat state leaders, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should be ranked the top, followed by Khalid and then Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak. Khalid has been performing moderately and would it be enough to help him keep the Selangor regime?
Selangor people from different social backgrounds have different views. Just as former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin said, "I don't think Khalid has performed very well. No matter what outsiders say, however, Khalid gives people the impression he is clean."
Daim has got the point. Although Khalid, originated from the business community, is not daring and resolute enough, he seems honest compared to BN state leaders.
Selangor has been troubled by different livelihood issues, like garbage management, water supply and floods.
The state government took over the work of solid waste management from Alam Flora Sdn Bhd in August last year, so that the state can save RM100 million annually. However, many solid waste contractors are incapable and some even use uncovered lorries to collect garbage, posting a hygiene risk. Garbage in residential areas was even collected only once a week in the beginning, leaving a chance for the BN to attack the state government.
The Selangor state government has also disputed with the Federal government over water supply, causing frequent water supply disruption in the state.
After the massive Kajang floods in December last year, Klang also encountered the most serious flood of the century on 30 March. It is not important whether the state government would compensate the victims, the key actually lies on stopping the threat of life and property damages.
Almost all states in Malaysia face waste management problem and Johor is as well facing floods problem. However, the quality of life in Selangor should be higher compared to other states since it is an advanced and industrial state located near the capital.
Because of Selangor's "money saving" practices, the stat! e govern ment has more money to distribute and please the middle-lower income earners.
Khalid pointed out that the state government has distributed RM700 million to the people not only without reducing the amount of its reserve, but increasing it from RM800 million to RM1.9 billion. This is a critical year to keep the regime and thus, the state budget hits RM1.6 billion.
However, businessmen and entrepreneurs might demand for more than that, including upgrading the state's investment and business environment.
The manufacturing investment in Penang last year has once again! surpass ed Selangor. Phison Electronics Corp chairman and chief executive officer Pua Khein-Seng chose to build a research and development centre in Penang instead of his hometown Selangor, showing that Selangor still needs to work harder to attract investment. State Economic Adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's policy to attract foreign investment seems pale.
Based on the Ulu Selangor by-election result, rural Malay, Indian and Orang Asli voters in Selangor still support the BN. It is the basic votes of Umno to retrieve Selangor.
Najib has recently paid frequent visits to Selangor and vowed to regain the state. However, most areas of the state have been urbanised and it is also the state with the highest number of Chinese voters. The BN's winning chances would not exceed 50% if it fails to gain swing votes.
Putrajaya is part of Selangor. The BN needs to retrieve Selangor to stabilise the Putrajaya regime. Similar to the Pakatan Rakyat, it would have to first stabilise Selangor to march towards Putrajaya. Therefore, Selangor would be the decisive battle in the next general election.