Sunday, December 7, 2008

The emergence of a new economic powerhouse among Pakatan-ruled states

I delivered a speech in an international forum on "New Economic Vision for Penang and Malaysia” in Penang yesterday. My participation was on behalf of Kelantan Menteri Besar. Together with me were YB Tuan Lim Guan Eng, the Chief Minister of Penang, YAB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim of Selangor, and YAB Dato Seri Nizar Jamaluddin of Perak.

I stressed that the time has now come for all Pakatan-controlled states to foster closer strategic alliances within the group. The challenges that we are facing both internally and externally, warrant us to work closer with each other. As Tan Sri Khalid says, the time has come for us to walk the talk by establishing concrete and tangible programs between these five states.

To get the ball rolling, I proposed several initiatives to be spearheaded by the state of Kelantan that can be pursued jointly with other states, namely:
1) enhancing tourism acitivities around the area of Pergau Dam in Kelantan, which is just two hours away from Penang. Tourists coming to see the beauty of beaches and heritage in Penang can get a glimpse of the unique flora and fauna lives by just making a quick stop in Pergau Dam.
2) taking concerted efforts to reduce the production costs of our agricultural activities. For example, the plummeting price of palm oil now can be offset by reducing the costs of fertilizers, and as huge buyers of fertilizers for palm oil plantation in Malaysia, states like Kelantan, Selangor and Perak can work together to find alternative methods that can reduce our reliance on fertilizers. These states do have the economy of scale to their favour.

By working together strategically as a unified coalition of states under Pakatan, we can not only overcome some of the hurdles deliberately imposed on us by the Federal government, but we can also steer away the states from any potential economic woes blanketing the countries all over the world due to the current financial crisis.
With total GDP contribution of more than 50% within the five Pakatan controlled states, we believe that we can emerge as a viable economic powerhouse within the country.