Anwar out to charm as Selangor economic advisor
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
SUBANG, Jan 9 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim made his maiden visit to the ground today as the economic advisor to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR)-led Selangor government as part of his ongoing tactic to consolidate the coalition's position in the state.
He made two visits to the low-income residential areas here and in Desa Mentari, Petaling Jaya earlier today and held dialogue sessions with the residents.
All this is part of his and PR's effort to "walk the talk" in introducing a new form of governance where government officials take a hands-on approach to solving local problems affecting the electorate.
In a speech before some 300 residents in Desa Mentari, Anwar gave his assurance that the Selangor government is committed to helping the poor and that his presence there was to listen directly to the problems of the voters.
"I will tell you here, we are not like Umno-Barisan Nasional. They always come, promise this and that, eat, leave and everything else is forgotten," he said.
"I am not here to do that. I am here to tell you that we are together, and that the Selangor government is committed in helping the poor," said Anwar, who is also PKR's de facto leader.
Desa Mentari residents then took the opportunity to complain of poor amenities and broken-down facilities in their area, which they claimed have been neglected by the local council and the previous administration.
The same complaints were heard in Subang and Anwar said he has already spoken to Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim about their problems and the state government will solve them soon.
Later speaking at a press conference, an energetic Anwar said he was happy with the success of today's visit.
"This is different, this is a programme where we come down to the ground and try and solve things together unlike Umno-BN," he said.
Umno too has stepped up the tempo of the competition by launching similar so-called "people-friendly" programmes dubbed "Juara Rakyat" or "People’s Champion" and has been going down to the ground on a weekly basis.
Rafizi Ramli, chief executive from Selangor economic advisor’s office, told The Malaysian Insider that their grassroots programme was not a contest.
"We have been doing this for a while now where the elected representatives will compile reports on the problems of their constituencies but Anwar's role is to go down and listen to the complaints directly.
"It's part of our effort to speed up the delivery of services to the voters. We did not think of it (programme) as a way to edge BN but rather to introduce a responsible government," said Rafizi.
He added that the campaign is aimed at solving local issues like housing, facilities and public transportation, and engaging affected voters directly will help the government solve their problems quicker.