REACH­ING OUT TO THE PEO­PLE

Perak Men­teri Be­sar Datuk Seri Dr Zam­bry Abd Kadir is a busy man. Ever since he took of­fice as men­teri be­sar in 2009, he has been on a roll to im­prove the gov­ern­ment’s de­liv­ery sys­tem. His ‘per­muki­man’ pro­gramme, es­pe­cially, has been touted his crown­ing g

New Straits Times - - News -

Ques­tion: It seems that you have lost con­sid­er­able weight af­ter the “per­muki­man” pro­gramme be­gan.

An­swer: (Laughs) Well, that is sub­ject to in­ter­pre­ta­tion, though. I do a lot of ex­er­cises (as part of com­mu­nity pro­grammes) with the peo­ple. I have been do­ing that for many, many years.

Although I have a busy sched­ule, I get in­volved in ac­tiv­i­ties when­ever I go down to meet the peo­ple.

Part of the ac­tiv­i­ties is to en­gage with young. At home, when­ever I have the time (I will ex­er­cise). But ev­ery week, I will make sure (I would ex­er­cise) to main­tain my fit­ness level.

Q: Can you tell us about the unique­ness of the “per­muki­man” pro­gramme?

A: There are var­i­ous unique fac­tors in the pro­gramme. Firstly, the lead­ers are there to­gether with the peo­ple. And, it is not just lip ser­vice. We can al­ways say the lead­ers are with the peo­ple, but in this pro­gramme, we are re­ally on the ground with the peo­ple. The lead­ers are re­ally, re­ally on the ground.

Sec­ondly, when the men­teri be­sar comes down, the state ma­chin­ery will be there and this in­spires or com­pels them to work and solve the peo­ple’s prob­lems.

Thirdly, we can im­me­di­ately ad­dress prob­lems and find so­lu­tions for them.

Fourthly, we can un­der­stand the the peo­ple bet­ter.

And, lastly, it im­pacts on the in­tegrity of the gov­ern­ment.

Q: How did the “per­muki­man” progamme come into be­ing?

A: It was in 2009 when we re­alised the sit­u­a­tion at that time re­quired full en­gage­ment with the peo­ple.

We needed to re­gain the con­fi­dence of the peo­ple. There­fore, we came up with lots of pro­grammes. One of them was for us to go down to the ground, which af­ter some time, was coined as “3P” or 3Fs”, which stands for “Field, Feel­ings (sen­ti­ment of the peo­ple) and Fix”.

We have done this through trial and er­ror and gauge what the peo­ple want and ex­pect from the gov­ern­ment. This is not some­thing new. It has been go­ing on for more than five years.

The pro­gramme be­gan gain­ing mo­men­tum af­ter the 13th Gen­eral Elec­tion. We de­cided to keep it go­ing, and not just when elec­tion fever hits.

Q: We were told that you have a spe­cific unit which han­dles onthe-ground ac­tiv­i­ties. It must be the busiest unit in your of­fice.

A: Yes, it is. Be­cause I do not want us to just visit the con­stituents, gather feed­back, and do noth­ing to ad­dress them.

The unit is also re­spon­si­ble for mon­i­tor­ing (the im­ple­men­ta­tion of) so­lu­tions, too. Some can be ex­e­cuted im­me­di­ately, while oth­ers can take months. We need a longterm ap­proach and to keep mon­i­tor­ing. The unit is also the co­or­di­na­tor be­tween the de­part­ments in the state.

Q: You first ini­ti­ated “Klinik Dr Zam­bry” be­fore the “per­muki­man” pro­gramme was formed. Peo­ple were queu­ing up to meet you to ad­dress their woes, which would then be re­solved im­me­di­ately. What did you learn from the ex­pe­ri­ence?

A: I be­gan to un­der­stand the prob­lems on the ground and pose per­ti­nent ques­tions to my of­fi­cials. The is­sues back then cen­tred on the de­liv­ery sys­tem, which needed re­vi­sion.

We gained a lot of in­put and came up with new pro­grammes to set­tle the is­sues once and for all. Prob­lems will be al­ways there, but we are em­ploy­ing a proac­tive ap­proach to en­gage the peo­ple di­rectly, go­ing to the ground by lend­ing our ears and to find so­lu­tions. Like to­day, there were is­sues that had baf­fled us for many years. Why can’t they be re­solved? But upon meet­ing the peo­ple, I re­alised that it re­quired a lot of think­ing, as well as cre­ative so­lu­tions.

You can­not just be guided by pro­ce­dures, which you have to com­ply strictly with­out any flex­i­bil­ity.

Q: Any ex­am­ple of is­sues that ini­tially seemed to be too com­plex to re­solve?

A: The is­sue of floods in (cer­tain) vil­lages. The Works De­part­ment (JKR) said it was not un­der its ju­ris­dic­tion. The Drainage and Ir­ri­ga­tion De­part­ment (DID) said it was not theirs ei­ther, which posed the ques­tion of no man’s land.

I kept re­mind­ing them that we were here to solve the prob­lem. We sat down and I me­di­ated if there was any depart­men­tal con­flict (in ju­ris­dic­tion) be­tween the two and we found a so­lu­tion.

The other is the cost to solve the prob­lem. Which, ac­tu­ally, if you use cre­ative think­ing, you don’t need a lot of money to find the so­lu­tion.

Like yes­ter­day (last Fri­day), there was a prob­lem con­cern­ing a cul­vert in Kam­pung Sim­pang Tiga. (The vil­lagers wanted to up­grade the cul­vert, but JKR and DID said the cost could be high to build a di­ver­sion to trans­port ve­hi­cles).

The res­i­dents needed a big­ger cul­vert, and the cost was said to be RM1 mil­lion. I said: “Why do you need RM1 mil­lion? How much do the cul­verts ac­tu­ally cost?”

They (JKR and DID) said the cul­verts were not costly, but the road di­ver­sion works were.

Q: So, how did you ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion?

A: I told them: “Look, let us think about it. The main thing is not about the road di­ver­sion, which they have to put in place while in­stalling the cul­vert. It (the road) is not even long — only about 10m. So, you don’t re­ally need RM500,000 to build the road di­ver­sion. The cost for the cul­vert is prob­a­bly RM200,000. So, the main is­sue is about the cul­vert, and the road di­ver­sion is sec­ondary. Let’s think about pri­ori­tis­ing is­sues in pro­vid­ing so­lu­tions.”

Fi­nally af­ter dis­cus­sions, (I told them that they) do not need to spend that much on di­ver­sion... (Yes) you still need the di­ver­sion but you don’t re­ally have to cover it nicely with tar. Prob­a­bly, you only need to keep it for three to four months. And, they fi­nally agreed that the cost could be less.

Q: What are the spe­cific is­sues usu­ally raised by the peo­ple?

A: It de­pends on the area. If it is in Ke­rian and some parts in Larut, most of the is­sues in­volved roads and ir­ri­ga­tion systems, as well as flood­ing.

There are also land is­sues to be re­solved, such as al­lot­ting lands for the younger gen­er­a­tion for hous­ing, and ap­pli­ca­tion for (hous­ing), which, I do not know why, is be­ing kept in the pro­cess­ing (pe­riod) for quite some time.

I lis­tened to the grouses and told (my peo­ple) the is­sues needed to be solved im­me­di­ately, and that there are var­i­ous ap­proaches we could use.

Q: Dur­ing the “per­muki­man” pro­gramme, we do not see any pro­mo­tion that it was part of Barisan Na­sional or Umno.

A: That is be­cause we do not want to por­tray it as po­lit­i­cal party ef­fort. We want to carry out a peo­ple­ori­ented pro­gramme. It is not be­cause we are not con­fi­dent of our party. The peo­ple know that the (Perak) gov­ern­ment is un­der Barisan Na­sional. But, we have to tell them that this is a pro­gramme for all.

Part 2 of in­ter­view tomorrow

MUHAIZAN YAHYA PIC BY

Perak Men­teri Be­sar Datuk Seri Dr Zam­bry Ab­dul Kadir cy­cling with Fit Perak par­tic­i­pants in con­junc­tion with his ‘Per­muki­man’ pro­gramme for Perak Ten­gah in Parit last Satur­day.

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