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Azmin rubbishes Amirudin on claim of increased investments for Selangor

The former menteri besar also says there is no point in a state having more reserves if they are not to be used for development.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
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Former Selangor menteri besar Mohamed Azmin Ali speaks to MalaysiaNow in Bangsar.
Former Selangor menteri besar Mohamed Azmin Ali speaks to MalaysiaNow in Bangsar.

Former menteri besar Mohamed Azmin Ali has challenged claims by his successor on Selangor's economic development, saying the state was in third place behind the federal territories and Johor in terms of investment as of the first quarter of 2023.

He also questioned Amirudin Shari's claim of being more successful in bringing in investors.

Azmin, who headed the state government from 2014 to 2018, said Amirudin's comparison was misplaced, and that the amount of investments brought in to Selangor could not be compared to those brought in when Selangor was still considered an "opposition state".

He also referred to the RM25 billion investment in Selangor by US giant Amazon Web Services (AWS), which he announced when leading a high-powered delegation from the international trade and industry ministry to the US in May 2022.

"Does he want to claim that this was the fruit of his efforts?" Azmin asked in a recent interview with MalaysiaNow.

"AWS at the time was looking to invest in Melaka, but I gave my own reasons for saying that it should be in Selangor."

Selangor has been Malaysia's most developed state since the era of Barisan Nasional, when the country's economy was geared towards attracting global industrial giants. 

Azmin was reappointed as menteri besar in 2018 but vacated his seat after being named as economic affairs minister by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, when the latter was prime minister under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

Following this, PKR nominated Ijok assemblyman Dr Idris Ahmad as Azmin's replacement for the top post, but the sultan of Selangor eventually chose Azmin's nominee.

Recalling his decision at the time, Azmin said he might have made a mistake in choosing Amirudin as his replacement.

"Perhaps I made the wrong choice at the time, but basically I thought that Selangor needed a young and progressive menteri besar who could continue the policies that had succeeded so far.

"Sadly, I was mistaken. He failed to continue the agenda of caring for the people, and Selangor's economic performance is going down," he said.

Azmin was sworn in as Selangor menteri besar in 2014, following a power vacuum in the aftermath of Khalid Ibrahim's ouster.

Khalid was sacked by PKR as part of the Kajang Move, a plan aimed at installing party leader Anwar Ibrahim's wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as menteri besar.

The sacking led to a fallout between DAP and PAS, and the coalition eventually split up before returning in the form of PH.

PH at the time comprised PKR, DAP, and Amanah, a PAS splinter party formed by a group of leaders who had lost the party election.

Azmin remained menteri besar of Selangor until 2018, when he was appointed to the first PH Cabinet.

'People-friendly policies ended'

Azmin meanwhile said many of the policies he had introduced as menteri besar were discontinued by Amirudin.

These include the Skim Mesra Usia Emas for senior citizens, under which the state government gave up to RM2,500 to families who experienced the death of a member. It was later revamped to provide payments of less than RM500.

Azmin also questioned the move to stop Selangor's policy of free water supply to all households for the first 20 cubic metres.

"In the name of realignment, Amirudin supposedly gives free water to the B40. But he forgets that after the pandemic, even those in the M40 group have become B40," he said.

Azmin also addressed an argument by PH supporters that the state's reserves had increased under Amirudin.

"What is the meaning of the huge reserves that are being hyped up? I used these for development expenditure. It is not the government's job to keep these away."

Azmin added that leadership was an important factor in determining the performance of any state government, regardless of party.

"Right now, Amirudin is still with PKR and PH, but his reputation is not like mine was during my time in PH.

"It's not a question of coalition or party. It's a question of how a menteri besar can present economic policies.

"Whether the people want to credit PH or me is up to them," he added.

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