‘Equal allocation for all Perak reps’

KUALA LUMPUR: Perak will provide the same amount of allocation to all assemblymen, irrespective of their political parties, in its quest to bring development to all, said Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad (pic), who now heads an unprecedented unity government in the state.

The move, said the Mentri Besar, is among the highlights in the Perak Budget 2023 that will be tabled in the state assembly on Dec 19.

“I previously gave equal allocation to state assemblymen from the government and the Opposition because I understand that the people must have equal assistance from the state government.

“God willing, this will be continued in the state budget that we will table because we are sincere in developing our state,” said Saarani during a special interview here on Monday.

Under the 2022 state budget last year, all Perak assemblymen were each allotted RM300,000.

Underlining fairness in leadership will be part of the formula that Saarani said he will use in leading his state executive council (exco), which comprises elected representatives from the Opposition.

“As the Mentri Besar, I must set a good example, and that is why I told all exco members to set aside their differences.

“We have debated with and criticised our friends and foes. Now that we are here, we should focus on state development.

“Let’s set aside our differences and find common ground,” said Saarani, who retained his Kota Tampan seat in the 15th General Election (GE15).

Saarani also dispelled criticism that the current Perak state government will collapse in six months, adding that all 24 Pakatan Harapan state assemblymen have pledged to ensure the administration will complete its full five-year course.

“During the first post-GE15 meeting by Perak Pakatan in Ipoh chaired by Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, all of its assemblymen pledged to ensure this state government runs its full term.

“If the 24 assemblymen pledged that, the nine Barisan Nasional assemblymen will welcome this because we agreed to form the state government together,” said Saarani.

The Perak Barisan and Umno chairman also hopes that there will be no attempts to topple the state government in six months, noting that there are eight years left to fulfil development plans under the Perak Sejahtera 2030 plan.

“I told the exco that we celebrate differences in opinion.

“In a family, not everyone will share the same views, what more a government that consists of two different ideologies,” said Saarani.

“It’s a good sign to be able to sit at the same table,” he added.

Saarani also said he has forgiven those who criticised him for cooperating with Pakatan in forming the state government.

“I forgive them because they didn’t understand what happened.”

The decision to cooperate with Pakatan was green-lit by the state Umno liaison committee, he said.

He added that he has ordered all Umno and Barisan leaders to explain the decision to all division leaders, and he himself has explained it to the Lenggong Umno division, which he heads.

“So far, there are no issues. They agreed with my stance. Although they were initially bitter, that was the decision made.

“I’m confident that this (decision to cooperate) will be accepted by all because the state government is formed to ensure development continues.”

Meanwhile, Saarani said the outcome of GE15 is a reflection of the people’s decision.

Though no parties were able to form a government on their own, Saarani said this is an opportunity for Malaysians to educate themselves about the need to be understanding and tolerant with one another.

“No matter what our political beliefs are, when it comes to the outcome of the elections, we must unite to ensure that the government is able to focus on national development,” he added.

The new state government is made up of 24 assemblymen from Pakatan, eight from Umno, and one from MCA.

Saarani, 61, was sworn in as the 15th Perak Mentri Besar on Nov 21.

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