As Azmin takes over, what is Khalid’s legacy?

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SHAH ALAM: To get an idea of how popular and refreshing Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim’s initial administration was, all you had to do was go to the countless ceremonies in Selangor where residents got land titles and lease renewals for only RM1,000.

The programme was how Selangor residents, particularly in rural areas, got to witness the kind of leadership and governance that Pakatan Rakyat wants to offer this country, and how much better it was compared with Barisan Nasional (BN).

It is initiatives like this, which Abdul Khalid started, that are being slowly forgotten as his successor and one-time nemesis Azmin Ali works overtime to heal the wounds that Abdul Khalid’s shock expulsion has created.

What cannot be denied is that Abdul Khalid’s policies helped Pakatan win an overwhelming 44 out 56 assembly seats in Selangor. BN, which had ruled Selangor until 2008, has been reduced to a coalition that gets support from the fringes. And as Abdul Khalid exits the stage, there is a big question as to whether Azmin can bring a style of governance that will be better for Selangor.

Fouziah Ismail is one of thousands who would unreservedly state that her family’s future is more secure under Pakatan than in the 40 years they lived under the BN. The 47-year-old’s was one of scores of families from Kampung Bukit Cherakah in Shah Alam who received land titles to their houses for RM1,000.  As reported in the Selangor government website, her family and others from the same village had for years tried unsuccessfully to get titles from the previous BN administration.

Without a title, the house where her parents lived, and she now occupies, could just be taken away. Under a property ownership scheme, she and others throughout Selangor got land titles or had their leases renewed for a flat rate of RM1,000.

Fouziah represents the many Malay working-class voters who benefited directly from the policies of Abdul Khalid’s first term. They then returned Selangor Pakatan to the government with an even bigger mandate in 2013.  It was all part of a package of policies centred around the philosophy to channel the state’s revenue back to the people. They ranged from broad-based subsidy schemes, such as 20 cu m of free water per household monthly, to targeted handouts such as shopping vouchers for seniors and single mothers.

“These policies benefited people directly and they ... benefited Pakatan at the polls,” said Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San. — The Malaysian Insider

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on September 30, 2014.