By James Gough
Perak Amanjaya, the Silver State’s own comprehensive transformation plan, is to be launched in January next year. Its aim is to achieve a developed state status by 2015. Conceived last year, the plan which has been touted as the plan for the future development of the state outlined three main objectives: Quality Opportunities, Quality Income and Quality Living.
Zambry admitted that he had “contemplated for some time”, possibly as early as 2005 when he was then state executive councillor and chairman of the Education Committee, Human Resources and Information Technology, the setting up of the think-tank explaining that most of the developed states “have an institution that determines the policies to implement.”
“When I came in I needed to know the big picture, the base lines and the barriers in order to take the state to the next level. I did not want to work like “patchwork” but with a long vision.” The role of IDR is that of an independent body tasked to establish a think-tank to look at improving socio-economic policies, propose innovative policies and implement the best strategies to make Perak a developed state by 2015.
Assisting Zambry to achieve his vision is IDR’s Chief Executive, Aminuddin Hashim, 40, a Chartered Management Accountant with 15 years of experience in Management Consulting and Corporate Analysis. “I wanted a young and energetic professional with forward vision and intellectual capabilities,” added Zambry.
Green Light Given
This resulted in the plan being materialised and subsequently forwarded to the Economic Planning Unit and was “given the green-light” by the federal government in February, this year. At a media briefing last month IDR’s Aminuddin explained the concept of Perak Amanjaya.
Perak Amanjaya was named by Zambry to reflect the state government’s commitment to bring peace, stability, progress and development to Perak.
The rationale behind its 3Q’s objective is to have a peaceful surrounding in order to succeed. “There is no point in having a high income and a posh home if crime is high and pollution is a problem,” stressed Aminuddin.
– Quality Opportunities are to prepare the people with the necessary skills whenever a job opportunity presents itself.
– Quality Income refers to improving the salary levels in the state similar to Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Achieving this will enable Perakeans to obtain greater purchasing power in a cost competitive living environment.
– Quality Living is the creation of a peaceful, crime free as well as a controlled pollution free environment to enable the development of quality individuals.
When formulating the plan Aminuddin actually met with government departments, NGOs and communities to get their input. The 3Qs’ goals may sound Utopian. Hence there are seven Key Result Areas (KRA) stipulated in order to achieve the goals of the 3Qs which covers:
1. Equitable Development and Distribution: Raising living standards of low-income households.
2. Skilled, Ethical and Knowledgeable Society: Improving Student outcomes.
3. Strong, Catalytic and Inclusive Government: Improving government delivery system.
4. Network of infrastructure and public facilities: Improving basic rural infra-structure.
5. Participative youth and social harmony: Improving youth knowledge and survival.
6. Vibrant public sector: Improving investment and business eco-system.
7. Eco-friendly and sustainable development: Improving quality of living and urban public transport.
For each KRA, the respective government agencies responsible for achieving its goals are indicated. Currently ‘laboratory-cum workshops’ are being conducted with the KRA members to explain the plan’s vision and mission.
When formulating the plan IDR considered the total landscape of the state identifying a state still rich in natural resources that had the advantage of vast infrastructure with over 200km of the North-South Expressway passing through it, a long railway line, the Perak River and a long coastline.
Regional Growth Plan
The plan also proposed a Regional Growth Plan identifying five economic zones i.e. Hulu Perak, Beriah Valley, Manjung and Ulu Bernam with Kinta Valley in the centre and consisting of nine growth corridors in between these zones.
According to Aminuddin this “3D Regional Growth Plan” is part of the World Bank “Reshaping Economic Geography” model whose 3D goal is aimed at “Reducing Distance, Creating Density and Narrowing Division” for the purpose of speeding-up development.
With such a comprehensive plan is Zambry confident of achieving the 2015 goal of being a developed state? ”Well I have a dream to achieve the goal by then though realistically it will be some time after that but before 2020. We can anticipate economic hurdles but we have to work with the plan and not ‘patchwork analysis’ to achieve the desired goal,” he said. When asked if the long entrenched bureaucratic barrier was considered a hurdle, Zambry responded positively describing it as a ‘reality of the system’. However the issue was addressed through engagement in workshops and seminars. Zambry added that “the KRA labs too are a form of engagement to align the service providers to the goal of Perak Amanjaya. Everyone has to play their role in order to achieve the goal.”
Alignment with NKEA and 10th Malaysia Plan
At the recent one-day Perak Economic Council meeting which was held to align the federal government’s NKEA (National Key Economic Areas) and the 10th Malaysia Plan with the states throughout the country, Perak Amanjaya was able to immediately highlight the disconnects between the two plans whereby three of the states’ strongest sectors, namely; palm oil, tourism and, electrical and electronics were “mysteriously” left out from the federal plan.
The Perak Economic Council meeting is a result of Perak Amanjaya and was its maiden meeting. Coincidentally, Perak Amanjaya’s plan is structured similar to the NKEA and 10MP plans presented by PEMANDU (Performance Management and Delivery Unit) of the Prime Minister’s Department) which made it a snapshot to align the state plan against the federal plan.
Results Being Felt
Indeed the results of Perak Amanjaya are already being felt. Another product of Perak Amanjaya is Yayasan Bina Upaya, the Empowerment Foundation tasked to empower the poor and underprivileged and create opportunities for them to upgrade their living standard. The core of the foundation’s activities is micro-credit financing. Other programmes conducted by the foundation include house repair and building for the less fortunate and motivational seminars for exam taking students. Since its inception late last year there have been 69 recipients of micro credit loans and 20 recipients receiving aid to improve their homes. Loan values range from RM1,000 to RM20,000.
Undoubtedly the outcome of Perak Amanjaya is beginning to show results despite being relatively new. More importantly though the structure and the strategy being implemented to proliferate the plan show long term sustainability.
We, Perakeans have experienced several administrations proposing glorified development plans. After several years though, the “plans” simply vanished. Hopefully with Zambry’s team of energetic intellectuals and his “no patchwork analysis strategy,” Perak Amanjaya will indeed achieve its goal.