Malaysia Dateline

Federal Territories Ministerial portfolio: More than looking after Kuala Lumpur

New dawn for Malaysia; New Ministers in the Administration

It has been over a year since Pakatan Harapan (PH) became the government following it’s historical victory in Malaysia’s 14th General Election on 9 May 2018.

Trusting the wisdom of Tun Dr Mahathir’s leadership, the new cabinet was thereafter announced, marking the birth of what most of us proudly call ‘Malaysia Baharu’.

There has been many mixed reactions in response to the lineup of the new ministers, made by independent political analysts, the opposition and supporters of the PH as well. As it is a new lineup, the mixed reaction is expected.

However, true to the saying “old habits die hard”, we unfortunately saw the same old race cards being played to raise doubts on the appointment of some of the Ministers. The issue of race, in the appointment of the Ministers, is secondary, to say the least. What should be of concern is competency and capability especially since the candidates were chosen based on their positions held in their respective parties.

Where the Criticism Begins

This brings us to another issue being played by certain quarters within PH in questioning the appointment of the Federal Territories Minister, YB Khalid Samad, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Shah Alam.

Being from Shah Alam, Khalid became an easy target and was constantly attacked by the urbanites in KL, particularly in relation to the controversial Taman Rimba Kiara saga, a residential development project inherited from the previous Barisan Nasional government.

This has led some to suggest that the appointment of the Federal Territories Minister should be limited to only MPs from Kuala Lumpur. Supposedly only a KL MP understands the needs of the KLites!

What they tend to forget is that getting someone from outside of KL ensures a new perspective on some issues, free from the emotions and biases which may have influenced KL MPs over the years.

Non-Issue Appointment and Additional Roles

The Ministerial role of the Federal Territories is not limited to only looking after Kuala Lumpur, but two other territories in Malaysia i.e. Putrajaya and Labuan. Thus, the issue of appointing an MP from Shah Alam as the FT Minister is a non-issue.

In fact, there is nowhere in the stipulated Act that requires the FT Minister to be an MP from a certain or specific state or constituency. Khalid so far is seen to have a hands on approach while dealing with all issues related to his ministry, which includes making work visits to Labuan, to make sure it is not left out from its much needed development.

Not limited to only the role of managing the growth and development of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya, the FT Ministry is now also responsible for Town and Country Planning Department (PLAN Malaysia) and the National Landscape Department.

One issue he has to handle, for instance, is the development of local flower industry to make the importation of flower seeds from Holland no longer necessary. This he needs to do as part of the “Negara Taman” vision approved by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir early this year.

Involvement from other MPs is highly encouraged and welcomed.

Recently YB Khalid appointed six of the KL MPs in various DBKL Committees, to assist the Ministry and the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL). This ensures their involvement in the management of the city.

The six MPs and their portfolios are Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (Setiawangsa) for Education; Fong Kui Lun (Bukit Bintang) for Tourism, Arts and Culture; P. Prabakaran (Batu) for Youth and Sports; Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew (Wangsa Maju) for Health and Women’s Affairs; Lim Lip Eng (Kepong) for Traffic and Infra and Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil (Lembah Pantai) for Social and Economic Development.

This goes to show that the Minister always welcomes active participation and involvement of Kuala Lumpur MPs, to strengthen the effectiveness of its governance, despite the continuous and unnecessary attacks on his role since the beginning of his appointment.

Setting Aside Differences

It is definitely high time for every elected MP in PH to stand together and be united in delivering the national agenda, notwithstanding whether or not they are being assigned with any ministerial post in the cabinet.

A period of five years to govern, shape and lead our newborn Malaysia Baharu is not a long time. It is time to put aside all differences of opinions and focus on giving our best to the Rakyat who voted for PH and entrusted us for Malaysia to ‘start over’. Save the ‘politicking’ for later. For now let us concentrate on delivering to the people with each and everyone of us chipping in as best we can.