Poetic justice – that best sums up the 2011 Auditor-General’s report that has given the opposition Pakatan Rakyat-controlled four states top marks for fiscal management.
The Auditor-General in its report had praised Selangor and Penang for collecting a revenue of RM62.50 million and RM192.19 million respectively.
Both states recorded a surge of 46.8% and 4% respectively as compared to the previous year.
The AG’s report also praised Kedah and Kelantan for their revenue collection but said that the states needed to improve their debt management system.
The DAP-led Penang showed the way in terms of revenue collection, chalking up RM192.19 million or 46.8% increase compared with the RM410.70 million generated in 2010.
Selangor, the country’s richest state, increased its revenue collection by RM62.50 million or 4% for the same period.
A paradoxical scenario indeed for in spite of the vehement attacks by Barisan Nasional on Pakatan’s ability to administer the four states under its fold, the opposition coalition, as revealed by the Auditor-General’s report, has proven its rivals wrong, shutting them up in the most fashionable way through an impressive performance.
Be it Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim’s leadership or Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s straight-forward style of managing the state, both have proven their capabilities.
The Penang state government under Lim launched the Competency, Accountability and Transparency (CAT) concept – the aim, among others, to propel the state government to achieve an efficient, responsible and clean government; CAT also encompasses positive work ethics and inculcates a team spirit based on performance.
However, Lim’s tenure as Penang chief minister has been no bed of roses for no effort has been spared by BN’s controlling arm, Umno, to malign him and cast doubt over Lim’s ability to carry out his duties as chief minister.
And there seems to be no end to the image-smearing undertaken by the BN.
Just last month, Lim was accused by Gerakan Youth vice-chief Tan Kah Leong, BN Tanjung Youth chief H’ng Khoon Leng and Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng of doctoring a tenancy agreement on his rented residence.
All three were left licking their wounds when Lim, through the document, revealed that the house was rented for RM5,000 a month and he topped up RM1,000 from his pocket to make up the difference from his RM4,000 a month housing allowance.
Pakatan deserves a chance
Before that, Umno tongues wagged that Lim was apparently involved in an extra-marital affair with his former staff. Prior to that, there was the ludicrous claim made by the BN rumour-mongers of Lim’s son being involved in a sex scandal.
Still, despite such pressing times, Lim persevered and was determined not to let the Penangites down – now the 2011 Auditor-General’s report is testament to Lim’s dedication to his work.
The scenario has been somewhat similar for Khalid, who time and again has been lambasted by Umno for being inept.
Khalid, whose over two decades of corporate experience and integrity has given him an edge in administering Selangor, has had his fair share of nightmares, be it the state government’s refusal to go ahead with the construction of the Langat 2 water treatment plant or controversy concerning mismanagement of funds to bail out Talam Corporation Bhd via purchases of land belonging to Talam.
The 2011 Auditor-General’s report also speaks well of two other Pakatan-controlled states – Kedah and Kelantan.
For Kedah, this rice-bowl state considered as one of the country’s poorest, while being far from achieving its debt target, has somehow managed a “satisfactory” balance sheet.
The oil-rich Kelantan, too, was rated satisfactory due to the increase in its consolidated fund by RM86.17 million or 58.1% to RM234.47 million as compared with the RM148.30 million recorded in 2010.
The PAS-conrolled state also saw investments in 2011 increase by RM95 million from RM16.33 million in 2010 to RM111.33 million in 2011.
With the 2011 Auditor-General’s report vouching for Pakatan’s ability to “do a good job”, does BN and Umno have any other trick up their sleeve to bring the curtains down on its arch-rival Pakatan?
The 2011 Auditor-General’s report that applauds Pakatan-controlled states for their good performance should be sufficient evidence to convince the rakyat that given a chance, Pakatan can deliver and do better than BN.
BN’s sour grapes
Call it “sour grapes” or hypocrisy, a BN federal minister, Nazri Aziz, decided to act “decent” and congratulate the Pakatan-led states.
Nazri, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, went so far as to say that the Auditor-General’s report proved that the BN government had no bad intention against its political rivals as accused by some quarters.
“If we want to hide facts, we would have hidden all the praises meant for Pakatan-led states,” Nazri had said.
Is Nazri then implying that BN is not averse to applying dirty tactics to suit its convenience?
And it does seem that Nazri has either been sleeping on the job or is in a critical need of a wake-up call when he remarked that the federal government never harboured malice against its political rivals.
Condemning Pakatan and calling it a liar and inept, as Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak keeps doing – does this not allude to bad intention aimed at killing off Pakatan’s chances at the coming 13th general election?
One thing is for sure and that is the rakyat cannot trust Nazri for he is known to swing like a pendulum when it comes to getting into the good books of the country’s leader.
By the way, what does the Auditor-General’s report has to do with BN’s “intention”? Can the report be tampered with by the federal government? Is this what Nazri is subtly saying?
Whatever Nazri’s rhetoric may be, it holds no water as far as hard work and a commitment towards serving the people go – this Pakatan has in a mere four years recorded straight As unlike its nemesis BN which never seems to get its act in order.
Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.