Can Pakatan deliver on its many promises to Negri?

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 08 May 2019

ON paper, the state Pakatan Harapan had an impressive plan to capture Negri Sembilan, a Barisan Nasional fortress, months before the people went to the polls on May 9 last year.

It pledged the unthinkable – to be among the first state administrations to convert leasehold properties to freehold, and to shut down the country’s largest scheduled waste treatment plant in Sendayan, a bane to many Seremban folk.

It also promised that the mentri besar would remain in office for only two terms, and to create a portfolio in the state administration to look into the well-being of non-Muslims in the state.

With the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal angering many people, the coalition made another remarkable vow: that the mentri besar and executive committee (exco) would declare their assets to the rakyat every year.

One year after wresting the state from Barisan, the Pakatan state government has fulfilled some of its promises, at least.

These fulfilled promises include asset declaration by the state's top office bearers, raising the allowances for Islamic religious teachers and officials, allocations for Islamic and vernacular and schools in Felda schemes, and an RM50 monthly payment for free school bus services for needy students.

It has also agreed to set up a fund to provide micro-credit facilities to aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as declared an allocation to strengthen the state's Perpatih matrilineal customs and traditions, increased the monthly aid for the physically challenged, and provided a one-off payment for single mothers.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun's team, buoyed after the win in the polls, has pledged to do even more, such as luring billions of ringgit in new investments and getting Airbus to build its fifth global maintenance, repair and overhaul facility in the state.

But as expected, Aminuddin's team has continued to receive brickbats from a section of society, with most rating its failure to convert leasehold properties to freehold status as the most glaring.

Many are also questioning the new government's silence on shutting down the Sendayan scheduled waste treatment facility.

As far as these people are concerned, nothing tangible has changed in the state.

Pakatan's critics said that apart from the goodies announced in the state budget for a section of society, there hasn't been any major announcement or development that makes the state administration stand out.

Many were also upset when Aminuddin decided to delay the long overdue move to declare Seremban a city in January this year.

The previous government had decided to upgrade Seremban to a city after years of meticulous work and in conjunction with the birthday of state ruler Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir, but this was not to be.

Aminuddin also upset some non-Muslims when the management of the Seremban International Golf Club arbitrarily stopped the sale of beer at the 18-hole club after he assumed its presidency.

He had imposed the condition that he would only become president if the 60- year-old club banned alcohol sales.

Members then called for an extraordinary general meeting where the management was forced to rescind the decision, and this eventually resulted in Aminuddin being forced to resign from the post.

(The post of SIGC president automatically goes to the mentri besar as the state owns the course).

Apart from an indecisive Aminuddin, not all Pakatan allies in the state have been having it good either.

State Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia leaders were already upset for not being treated as an equal in the quartet when it was only given six of 36 state seats to contest in the May 9 polls.

To make things worse, all these seats were Barisan fortresses.

Bersatu leaders then appealed to state Pakatan leaders that it had zero chance of winning any of the seats, and had asked for a compromise – but this was not entertained.

As predicted, Bersatu lost all six. To allay talk that it was a lesser partner, Bersatu's inner circle was hoping that the coveted post of Speaker be given to a representative from the party, but again Aminuddin chose to give it to a rep from Amanah who had also lost in the polls.

The state Bersatu was eventually dissolved four months after the general election and an ad hoc committee has since been running the state chapter.

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