While Joe Biden, the President of the United States, may have declared the pandemic as over, the fact is the “break through” variants of the original SARS Cov II virus continues to kill more than 3500 in the US each week. In the words of Edmund Yong, a Malaysian who moved to the UK with his parents at the age of 9, who studied the sciences at the United College of London then the Imperial College of London, who received the Pulitzer prize of 2021 for the “best Scientific explanatory writing,” if anything else, the world must understand that other forms of pandemic are lurking to recur in future. Thus while Covid 19 may have already become endemic, as the global climate changes, more and more animals will escape from their usual hounds to avoid the growing heat. This is where the plausibility of more zoonotic diseases will happen, leading to more human to human transmissions. All Malaysians can read about it in theatlantic.com, especially “The Next Pandemic”.
Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad is an eminent toxicologist, the discipline that looks into the effects of poison on human health and other living creatures. His medical training is unparalleled. He graduated from the Imperial College in London, as the writer Edmund Young did. Obviously Imperial College London has one of the best toxicology and scientific programs in the world. By voting for Dato Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad, Kuala Selangorians are showing to the world that Kuala Selangorians do want an eminent world class expert on public health in its midst.
Everyone may know Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad as the ex Minister of Health, of Pakatan Harapan, he also writes a regular column at The Edge weekly. In all his articles, one can see that he does not only have a clinical mind but an erudite style of capturing the fine dynamics of the issues on the ground.
Kuala Selangor is known for its seafood. It is also not far from Klang or Sekinchan, a fishing village that extends from the coast of Kuala Selangor. This is an area where the potential for tourism is already very high. With Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim contesting for a seat in Tambun, Perak, Kuala Selangor would be connected to the development corridor of Selangor and Perak.
Just as crucially, while the statistics may show that there are more Malays than any other ethnic groups in Kuala Selangor, the fact is this: Kuala Selangor is the location where different races work well together, whether in the palm oil plantation, the tourism sector, the many halal seafood restaurants that are tucked away at the seafront and river coast that cater to Malay, Chinese and Indian clientele, including international tourists too.
Kuala Selangor is more well known than many people tend to give it credit for. It is barely 1 hour away from Shah Alam, Subang Jaya, for that matter, Sungai Buloh or Kajang. If the naval personnel in Lumut want to get their rest and recreation in Kuala Selangor, it is barely 1 hour and 35 minutes away. This is an area that can grow when there is a Member of Parliament that understands the very potential that Kuala Selangorians themselves have long understood. Granted that Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad is wisely elected by the people of Kuala Selangor .
Tengku Zafrul is one of those candidates who had been parachuted to Kuala Selangor to enable a victory for UMNO. There is nothing wrong with that only that Tengku Zafrul sees himself as a cut above all other races, even Malays, which is why he would have the mindset of what UMNO itself calls “Orang Kayangan”: someone whose feet are never on the ground. Zafrul may have all the funds being a Finance Minister, visiting Kuala Selangor, as he so proudly claimed, 200 visits the last 6 months, and ready to dish out cash ! But isn’t this a dereliction of his duty as a Finance Minister for all of Malaysia ! What about those who need simple infrastructure and clean water in Sabah or Sarawak or Kelantan ?
Look at his budget prior to the dissolution of the parliament on October 7 2022. RM 97 Billion is dedicated to the operational expenditure of the civil service or those who had once worked in this sector. Once again there is nothing wrong with trying to reward the civil service. They too are suffering from the ever escalating cost of living. But the increase must be realistic to prevent the world market from downgrading the Ringgit further. Yet Tengku Zafrul increased the operational expenditure by a whopping 50 percent.
This is not only outlandish. Rather counter productive in all sense of the word. Why ? When the capital expenditure is increased, by 50 percent, despite the fact that between 2005 to 2018, the public sector had indeed taken up 70 percent of all the budget allocation of the Malaysian government, then what we have is a bloated budget.
Tengku Zafrul has topped up the capital expenditure of the budget without increasing the even more important development expenditure of the national.
Yet in an economy that is affected by the ramifications of Covid, where Long Covid can imply anyone that has lingering symptoms of it two weeks after recovery, then Malaysia need the voters of Kuala Selangor, just as Kuala Selangorians themselves, need someone who can understand the importance of how to lobby the Federal Government to help Kuala Selangor and Malaysia writ large.
Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad can address all these issues at the state and Federal level as he was once the chair of the Covid 19 Commission in Selangor too. Unknown to many, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad is an eminent authority on toxicology acknowledged by the World Health Organization too. Kuala Selangor is now a frontline state of not just Selangor but, God willing, Pakatan Harapan as the prospective Federal government in Putrajaya. Kuala Selangorians can grow further with access that Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad has with both the state and Putrajaya.
Even more critically, Digital National Berhad (DNB) which sought to be responsible for the roll out of all future 5 G in Malaysia compelled all telecommunication companies to come on board.
While four of them were willing, Maxis and Axiata, refused. But even four joining DNB will cost the consumers billions of dollars in future, especially now and 2030, as Tengku Zafrul has tried fo free ride on this project, without doing anything or paying anything, with the exception of using the government authority of DNB to pressure others into accepting role as the first among equals.
This would raise the cost of 5G digital consumers and should the plan proceed as the essence of 5G is constant competition to broaden the bandwidth and speed with the attendant goal to make the cost of digital subscription hardly a burden at all.
Yet, Tengku Zafrul has flipped this principle completely in reverse. How can Kuala Selangorians or any Malaysians for that matter trust him ? If anything we should throw him and DNB project into the dust heap of another dubious and lack of transparent project. After all the DNB’s Single Wholesale Model have been an abject failure everywhere and anywhere it was deployed. This project is worth billions of RM and it will be once again people’s monies will be tapped either through guaranteed debt by the government or through tax revenues ! When it could have been all private sector initiatives, just like in all and every nation that have successfully deployed 5G.
Kuala Selangor can do a great national service by voting in Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad who will work tirelessly with a great passion and heart, for Kuala Selangor, for Malaysia, for the MANY!
Dr Rais Hussin is the President and CEO of EMIR Research, an independent think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research.