• YB Wong Chen

Selangor Budget Compared to BN Federal Budget

I take this opportunity to reply to a reader, Tahir Ali’s excellent question how does the Selangor budget compare to the BN federal budget.

For the Selangor budget, I was not involved in the matter since I am a federal MP, not a state ADUN. The Selangor budget is prepared by the MB, his EXCO and the state civil servants. I am not so familiar as to dissect every element of the state budget but below are some broad observations.

The national budget and Selangor State budget are two completely different matters. Firstly, the national budget at RM267 billion is about 100 times bigger than the RM2.8 billion budget of Selangor. Secondly the scopes are very different. The national budget covers every national economic issue and all ministries. The budgetary concerns of a state govt is very, very much limited to land approvals, water, state owned roads, small municipalities, garbage and religious matters.

The state can try to provide programs for the poor but all these projects are limited because simply, the state has limited resources. For instance, a state cannot possibly pump prime the economy of Selangor as it has very limited funds. Even spending RM200 million on one matter, say to build a bridge, will not make a meaningful dent on the overall economic wellbeing of the state.

So the best a state govt can do, in terms of governance is to ensure the performance of its politicians and civil service to be as efficient and as corrupt free as possible.

If we spend on garbage collection, make sure that the garbage is collected and the tender is done without corruption. If we repair state roads, make sure the repairs last at least 5 to 7 years. If we approve plot ratios, make sure it is fair to the people and not just to help developers.

Every small state program rolled out must have visible results and proper reportings. If we make a mistake, report it and try to improve or disband it next year.

I stress again that the state government budget is therefore not comparable to the national budget. It is a very much smaller budget with the first and foremost objective, is to showcase good and clean administrative skills. It is not meant to be an economic growth budget to challenge the federal budget per se.

Hence a good budgetary expense at state level is to spend on transparency and accountability systems, like how a bank improves its internal audit and decision making process. Lastly, the toll highway issues actually highlighted a need for a rakyat feedback system. Spending say RM10 million on such a system will be wise.