Your 10 questions with Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir

  • Business
  • Saturday, 05 Mar 2011

Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir Perak Mentri Besar answers ...

How do you plan to take the state to greater heights considering its decline compared with the earlier years? Lee Seng Choy, Selangor

It's a bit skewed to conclude we are declining, even though we must admit that we are examining our overall strategies to move Perak to the next level. We have crafted the state master plan under the banner of Perak Amanjaya Development Plan. This plan was co-created with the private sector and non-governmental organisations.

More importantly, Perak Amanjaya is developed under the premise of national initiatives 1Malaysia, Government Transformation Programme, Economic Transformation Plan and the 10th Malaysia Plan.

The idea is not to reinvent but to align and support national initiatives. It is built on the spirit of inclusiveness and sustainability towards creating a high income state. Perak Amanjaya will also look at the economic transformation of the state revitalising core industries and building competitive advantages in emerging sectors. To achieve regional transformation, we will introduce key projects and investments in the identified growth zones to catalyse development throughout the state.

Some say that you “stole” the Perak government from Pakatan. Others say you were right to do so as Pakatan was not able to lead. The next general election will prove whether that is right or wrong. Do you agree? Bulbir Singh, Seremban

To some, this argument will never end. Let me reiterate that the whole episode was not created and started by us. They turned euphoric upon seizing (stealing) our Bota's ADUN. What followed was the avalanche of their three representatives rolling down to us as a result of a long internal cracking up of the Pakatan.

Suddenly they accused us of stealing, robbing, and hurled accusations against us. The change of government has happened and it is based on the spirit of democracy. Now, the Barisan Nasional has been mandated with the responsibilities.

This has never been about “stealing”, but most importantly, it is about “serving”. As soon as I was appointed the mentri besar in February 2009, we focused on creating a stronger governance model to ensure effective and efficient delivery of services to the rakyat. Socio-economic improvement is of utmost importance.

How can Perakians help the state government achieve key performance indicators? Bernard KH Lim, Penang

Ultimately, Perak Amanjaya envisions developing quality individuals. A state cannot prosper without her rakyat being able to contribute, and vice versa. I hope that the programmes and initiatives are well received by the target groups. It is about improvement, and we welcome feedback. I encourage Perakians who have travelled and migrated to other states or countries to be part of these initiatives. We can all contribute in this new era of a borderless world. We can be anywhere and still be able to make contributions to the state.

Under what circumstances is keeping ourselves strong and healthy more important than making ourselves rich and famous? Tabitha CC Boi, Penang

This is a question of choice, but for me under all circumstances, one should always keep oneself strong and healthy. After all, without being strong and healthy, it is difficult, if not impossible, for us to make ourselves rich and famous. A strong and healthy body backed by spirituality harnesses a sharp and focused mind. This, in turn, will keep an individual motivated to achieve his or her ambition, whatever it may be. I, myself realise its importance and have disciplined myself to do at least some basic workout once every day. Being physically, mentally and spiritually competent enables a person to deliver the job to the highest standards.

How prepared is the BN to face off with PR in the state in the upcoming general election? Louis, Kuching

It is not a question about preparing for an election, but it is a question of preparing my team to serve the people at any time. I have been working with my team since February 2009, continuously emphasising the importance of accountability and their responsibilities to deliver the services as promised. It is our duty to deliver whether the election is around the corner or not. As such, I believe BN has been progressing well and the Perakians will see that.

As for the preparation work for the next general election, a lot of effort towards serving the people has already been put in place at the federal level which is extended to the state level. I strongly believe that continuously serving the rakyat and striving to deliver what we are mandated to do is the best preparation for an election.

Datuk Seri, how confident are you that you can bring Perak back to its glory days of tin-mining? Lee Tze How, Parit Buntar, Perak

I am very confident. Perak once contributed 60% to the national GDP. No other state in history is near Perak's track record. I believe Perak can rebuild itself to again become an important contributor to national growth. We are trying to do this by looking at new sources of growth. This includes, among others, leveraging on value-add activities of tourism and agriculture. Over the past five years, Perak's GDP has consistently grown at more than 6% on average, except in 2009, where the global economic crisis impacted not only the state but also Malaysia and the world.

What kind of implication can we expect from the RM10bil-RM14bil Vale project? K. Sivarasam, Ipoh

We can expect the spill-over effects to spread across other sectors, giving a positive impact to Manjung's economy and ultimately to the state. Investment that will be brought in will translate into more job creations, especially in high-value jobs in terms of skilled and semi-skilled working segments. This will also translate into the provision of better infrastructure in the surrounding areas. We are also expecting in-migration of people which will benefit local businesses from petty traders to SMEs.

What are the measures you have in place to encourage and stimulate the tin industry in Perak? Will there be special tax incentives or, maybe, cheaper power? Teng Tai Kor, Taiping

There are plans to stimulate the tin industry. We are working on several measures to encourage the industry and will make the appropriate announcements at the right time in a transparent manner.

I read that you still play football. How do you manage that at your age? Ahmad Lokman, Bidor, Perak

Age is a state of mind. I believe age does not matter when it comes to sport or exercise. I'm still young, and I plan to stay fit and healthy as much as possible and for as long as possible. It is up to me to discipline myself to allocate some time for sports and recreational activities.

I love football. As a striker, I enjoy the game. It is a team sport. The game teaches me how to build and coach teams. Any team sport, such as football, fosters team spirit and I value this. Personally, I also feel that this is an important way for me to connect with the rakyat, especially the younger generation. I will continue to play for as long as I stay fit. It's a game that gets everyone together regardless of their social status. If the state government is likened to a football team, then I am the captain of this team. A captain cannot win the game by himself; he needs the whole team to win the game.

Significant investments have been brought into Perak, largely centred in Ipoh, Gerik and Lumut. Are there more exciting big projects in the pipeline? Raju Gopal, Kampar, Perak

Huge investments naturally flock into major growth areas. Ipoh being the capital city of Perak, Lumut being the port city concentrating on heavy industries, and Gerik with its tin deposits and natural forests. It is our intention to ensure each district in Perak receives appropriate development that suits local needs.

Hence, the state government will contribute more in areas that receive less attention from private sector investments. For example, the new PLUS interchange in Alor Pongsu of the Kerian District (north Perak) is to provide catalyst for growth in that region. The state government is also working towards revitalising small towns throughout the state. Eighteen small towns have been identified as part of the first phase of transformation, such as Bagan Datoh, Bandar Behrang, Sungkai, Taiping and others.

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