Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tough road, but Perak BN is sure of its objectives

Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir with Perak BN assemblymen after he took the menteri besar’s oath of office on Tuesday at Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar.

Zambry pledges to maintain peace and stability, while continuing with development programmes

IT was three minutes before noon on Tuesday. A large group of newsmen were gathered at Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir's official residence for his first press conference after being sworn in as Perak menteri besar following Barisan Nasional's victory in the 13th General Election (GE13).

He is into his second term as the state's 11th menteri besar.

(He is actually the 10th man to hold the post since the late Tan Sri Ghazali Jawi served as menteri besar twice -- once between Aug 1, 1957 to April 15, 1960 and subsequently between Sept 4, 1974 to Sept 30, 1977. Ghazali's son, Tan Sri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali, was himself a menteri besar from Dec 3, 1999 to March 16, 2008. Tajol Rosli himself is a highly respected BN and Umno veteran.

A siren was blaring in the background.

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I remember asking a friend next to me if the siren was from a rushing ambulance or a police patrol car.

Moments later, a black Proton Perdana drove up to the main porch, minus any police patrol car.

It was Zambry. He had rushed "home" for the press conference from Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar after taking his oath of office before the Regent of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah.

As soon as he got down from the car, with his trademark smile, he shook hands with each and every pressmen present. In tow was his wife Datin Seri Saripah Zulkifli.

One look at Zambry and one could tell that he had yet to recover from all the running around from the two week-long campaign trail. Like many other politicians, he too had shed several kilos.

Zambry will never really have the time to recover from the fatigue, as he has an enormous task ahead of him based on the results of the just-concluded elections.

Perak BN managed to garner 31 state seats as opposed to the opposition pact's 28. What is telling from the results is that the urbanites, coincidentally the majority of whom are Chinese voters, are no longer with the ruling coalition.

The May 5 polling results showed that the majority of Kinta Valley urban seats, except for the Tambun parliamentary constituency, fell into the hands of Pakatan.

The Kinta Valley comprises the Ipoh Timur, Ipoh Barat, Gopeng and Batu Gajah parliamentary constituencies.

BN only managed to win the support of the rural voters, the majority of whom are Malays.

"What is important now is to maintain the existing peace and stability, while continuing with the development programmes which are already in place," Zambry said.

Over the last four years of BN rule in the silver state, he has drawn out a comprehensive blueprint to restore the state's past glory.

The Perak Amanjaya Transformation Plan is based on seven Key Result Areas (KRAs), which detail development targets to improve Perakians' income and provide them with better social services and greater opportunities.

Zambry will have to prove his mettle in the next five years, just as he did since 2009, that he can deliver the numerous promises made.

Perakians, prior to GE13, have lauded the Perak BN manifesto, unveiled by Zambry and his team.

Zambry is mindful that his every step is being scrutinised, especially by the opposition still unhappy with the outcome of the elections. (Several election petitions can be expected from the opposition pact in the weeks ahead.)

Zambry has been given his own mandate to lead Perak for the next five years to protect the interest of all communities, regardless of whether they voted him in or not.

However, he is faced with a daunting prospect of possibly having an all-Malay state executive council in his team, after the sole MCA representative Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon, who was reelected for the Chenderiang state seat, announced that he would toe the party line and decline any post.

MCA had earlier passed a resolution in its emergency general meeting that it would not accept any state or federal posts if it fared badly in GE13.

Political analyst Dr P. Sivamurugan said Perak BN, with a slim majority, needs to reconcile to ensure it was not carried away by the current voting pattern.

Political observer Datuk Rais Hussin Mohamad Ariff said Zambry should be given the chance to continue his good work.

"The people have spoken. It is 31 for BN and 28 for Pakatan. This is what the people want. They want BN to continue administering the state. They have given a direct mandate to Zambry to continue his good work."

As for Pakatan, he said managing rejection or accepting defeat is always tough in a highly-polarised contest.

Obviously the next five years, according to Rais, is going to be challenging for Zambry's BN to navigate the state through such a divisive and highly polarised race-based environment.

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