Kelantan receives ‘windfall’ with most Cabinet appointments

By BERNAMA / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

KELANTAN had a “windfall” after eight parliamentarians and two senators from the state joined the new Federal Cabinet line-up announced by Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (picture) on Monday.

The ministers appointed were Senator Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin as education minister; Jeli MP Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (minister in the PM’s Department [economy]); Kota Baru MP Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan (minister in the PM’s Department [Parliament and law]; Kubang Kerian MP Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (environment minister) and Ketereh MP Tan Sri Annuar Musa (Federal Territories minister).

Meanwhile, Tanah Merah MP Datuk Seri Ikhmal Hisham Abdul Aziz was appointed deputy defence minister; Pengkalan Chepa MP Ahmad Marzuk Shaary (deputy minister in the PM’s Department [religious affairs]; Rantau Panjang MP Datuk Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff (deputy women and family minister), Tumpat MP Datuk Che Abdullah Mat Nawi (deputy agriculture and food industry minister) and Senator Datuk Dr Ahmad Masrizal Muhammad (deputy environment minister).

The focus now will be on deve- lopment issues in Kelantan, where PAS has claimed to have been sidelined by the federal government, especially involving the issue of 5% royalty payment agreement between the state government and Petroliam Nasional Bhd signed since 1974.

Thus, the appointment of five ministers and five deputy ministers could serve as a turning point in the development of Kelantan in various socio-economic sectors to provide more employment opportunities for the people of the state.

The focus should also be to continue negotiations on petroleum royalty which began during the Barisan Nasional administration before the coalition’s fall in the 14th General Election (GE14).

Universiti Malaysia Kelantan vice chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Noor Azizi Ismail said Mustapa was the right person to continue the negotiations which he begun a few years ago, which will be boosted by the good relationship he has with Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob.

He said the payment of petroleum royalties will facilitate the development of infrastructure and infostructure (telecommunications access) by the Kelantan government to provide the best possible facilities to potential investors to tap into the state’s rich natural resources.

“The arrival of more investors to Kelantan will create more jobs for the people of the state, while reducing the migration of young people to the West Coast in search of employment.

“In addition to the entrepreneu- rial attitude of the Kelantanese, infostructure facilities such as faster broadband can contribute to online business activities, currently the option of choice for many entrepreneurs to take their business to the next level,” he said when contacted by Bernama yesterday.

Meanwhile, Universiti Utara Malaysia College of Law, Government and International Studies senior lecturer Dr Kamarul Zaman Yusoff said Kelantan’s future looked bright with the presence of so many MPs and senators in the Cabinet line-up.

He said Mustapa and Mohd Radzi had the potential to develop Kelantan as there were many projects that could be planned and implemented through the ministries held by the two.

“High hopes are on the shoulders of both of them to help develop Kelantan’s economic and educational status, in line with their jurisdictions and responsibilities, as well as Che Abdullah’s portfolio which is highly relevant in Kelantan, seen to be among the major contributors to the country’s agricultural sector.

“At the same time, other states should not envy the list of ministers and deputy ministers from Kelantan compared to other states for the first time since independence. Kelantan has (only now) received this privilege when most of the other states have been used to getting a large number of Cabinet members before this,” he said.

He said Kelantan deserved the privilege as it provided the second largest number of MPs in the new government with 14 after Sarawak (20), topping even the likes of Johor (13).

“What is even more important is the fact that the Kelantan government is now with the federal administration for the first time since the stint from 1973 to 1977.

“We still have three years left before the term of Parliament ends, so if this opportunity is best used to develop Kelantan, then there is definitely much that can be done that will enable the government to extend its life beyond GE15,” he said. — Bernama