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Saturday, September 29, 2012

'Umno and BN have never had SPLITS' - Isa denies Perlis next state to FALL to PR


'Umno and BN have never had SPLITS' - Isa denies Perlis next state to FALL to PR
Perlis was the only northern state to survive the political tsunami of 2008. Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Md Isa Sabu believe that the opposition does not stand a chance of wresting the state from Barisan Nasional in the next general election.
Question: How have the state government and the people of Perlis benefited under your administration for the past five years?
Answer: It is our responsibility as the state government under the Barisan Nasional-led government to look into issues affecting the people. The issues we think are important at this moment relate to the temporary occupation licence (TOL) and land titles. To date, we have issued 9,032 TOL and 4,058 land titles. The number will surely increase.
We have also increased the literacy rate in the state, especially among school-going children. Last year, for Years Two and Three, we achieved 88.86 per cent and 96.57 per cent literacy rate respectively. This year, the percentage has increased to 90 per cent and 99.21 per cent for Year One and Year Two respectively. Besides that, school examinations have also shown better results.
The state has also seen a number of investors showing interest. Some have already set foot in Perlis, such as KPJ Healthcare Bhd, which is working with Yayasan Islam Perlis. Lhoist, a Belgium-based company specialising in the dolomite industry, has also shown interest.
We also have UDA Holdings Bhd, which has started work on a shopping complex. It is working with the Perlis Economic Development Corporation. Proven Properties has also started "varsity city" development work in Sungai Chuchoh near Titi Tinggi.
We are gearing towards making Perlis a developed state by 2015 and gaining city status (for Kangar) by 2030.
With regard to turning Perlis into a developed state by 2015, we have achieved 35 indicators out of 53. We are confident of achieving our target in 2015.
In the past few years, we have also seen the tourism sector booming. Up to last month, we recorded 2.32 million visitors to Perlis and we have projected the number to increase to 3.2 million. Last year, we only had about 1.7 million tourists.
With that, certain projects are being carried out, such as upgrading the Kuala Perlis jetty, which is one of the main gateways to Langkawi. We are also beautifying stretches of Sungai Perlis and Kuala Sungai Baru.
Upgrading works at the bridge in Gua Kelam, which was partly destroyed during the recent floods, are ongoing. Work to beautify the Tasik Melati recreational centre has been recently completed.
(We are also) upgrading homestays. Massive work is being carried out to change the landscape of the state. With allocations from the Federal Government, the state government spent about RM19.6 million.
More people in Perlis are getting electricity and treated water.
I am also happy that the percentage of hardcore poor and the poor is lower now. We recorded above six per cent some years ago but the rate has been reduced to 4.2 per cent.
The Welfare Department had given out aid amounting to RM74.84 million to more than 400,000 people in the state in the past five years. There are a lot more and the list will keep on growing.
Question: What do you think would be your greatest achievement?
Answer: For me, it is the more than 13,000 TOL and land titles that we have given out. This has solved many household problems. Previously, land titles were shared between family members and this had caused difficulties in obtaining bank loans.
With separate titles, bank loans are much easier to obtain and there have been fewer quarrels between family members over land issues. However, that is not the end. We are still working on many more titles.
The other achievement would be when flood mitigation projects, with the western bypass and the upgrading works on the Timah Tasoh dam, are completed. That would save the state from major floods.
The Federal Government had allocated some RM560 million for the flood mitigation projects but the state needs some RM500 million to construct the Eastern Bypass.
Question: There have been rumours that you may not be retained as the menteri besar (after the next general election). What is your take on that? Is there someone else who you think can take over your position in the state to ensure continued development?
Answer: The main issue here is we want BN to lead the state. Whether I am menteri besar or not, that is not an issue at all. The Umno leadership knows better.
We leave that matter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. If you ask me who can lead the state, I will say there are many who are capable.
Question: Recently, there were statements by the opposition, especially Pas, that it would wrest Perlis from BN in the next general election. What is your comment?
Answer: Perlis has been led by BN for years. It has proven to be a BN stronghold. In fact, Perlis was the only northern state that survived the political tsunami in the 2008 general election.
Pakatan Rakyat obviously has the chance and right to contest but unfortunately, that is all it can do -- contest. Victory is surely with BN.
Question: Pas recently claimed that Perlis Umno is in shambles and has split into four factions. Your reaction?
Answer: We understand our own party and BN more than Pas does. What I can say is that Umno and BN have never had splits. There may have been a few differences in opinion. That's normal.
As I said, we were the only northern state that survived the political tsunami in 2008. We know our family better than Pas does.
Question: There have also been rumours that the factions took place because of your poor relationship with former menteri besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.
Answer: I just don't understand how people came to such a conclusion. If we were in each other's bad books, how could we be together? We are together. We even go for some party meetings together. This is mere perception of those who are against Umno and BN. Our relationship has been good and it will always remain that way.
Question: Perlis Pas commissioner Hashim Jasin has also spoken about the "phenomenal" changes in the state's Chinese support for BN, claiming that about 80 per cent of the Chinese community in Perlis would vote for the opposition. What is your comment on that?
Answer: I agree with what Pas has said about the emergence of a "phenomenal" change. But this time, there will be more Chinese support for BN. We (state government) have conducted many activities and the support of the Chinese community for BN has been tremendous.
The Chinese community in Perlis, even in Sanglang or Simpang Empat, which are said to be Pas strongholds, know their success was not due to Pas or Pakatan Rakyat but because of BN and Umno. The people in Perlis, including the Chinese, are not people who are easily confused. They base (their decisions) on facts and results and not on empty promises.
Question: Do you think BN will win back Sanglang and Simpang Empat from Pas in the next general election?
Answer: I am confident we will win Sanglang and Simpang Empat. The people are back with BN. The people have shown that they support us, immaterial of whether they are Chinese or Malay. The support is great. This is an indicator that the people are back with Umno and BN. The people of Perlis know that BN is the party for all.
Question: After the 2008 general election, when you became the menteri besar, there were many who were against your appointment. Many have even labelled you a weak leader. What is your comment on that?
Answer: This is politics. Not everyone will agree on the MB candidate. I did not dream of becoming an MB but since I am here and as long as I am the menteri besar, I will give my best. Many had even said that I was chucked out by the party in the 2004 general election, but the truth was I had requested not to be named then due to health reasons. After the short break, I felt better and here I am.
These are all perceptions and allegations. Anyone can be the MB and there will still be some who will be against him. You cannot please everyone. What is important is that the job needs to be carried out in the people's interests.
Question: What is your message to the public on the next general election?
Answer: Do not fall into the trap of sweet but empty promises made by the opposition. We have lived in a harmonious multiracial state gained through the support of the people for BN. There will be more to come if the BN government continues leading the state.
NST

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