In our Selected Exhortations category, we republish interesting stuff such as must-read articles and essays not originally written exclusively for the blawg, and which have come to our attention. Please feel free to email [email protected] if you would like to reproduce your writing, but first follow our Writer’s Guide here. This is the fourth post of a satirical series on how a billionaire secretly funds and forms the next Selangor administration. You can follow the series here.
All that anticipation and agonising proved to be unnecessary as the Selangor Sultan gave his consent to the entire Amal line-up as submitted. But the atmosphere in the palace remained tense as all the faces within remained neutral and pensive, as if still doubtful whether the Amal administration could actually bring about any positive changes to the state.
Privately, Jamilah felt they couldn’t do any worse than the previous administrations – but also realised no one would draw a fair comparison simply because the Amal group were all females and there were higher expectations to live up to all round. Still, the Sultan had agreed to her request for him to inaugurate an impromptu state exco meeting immediately the swearing in – a surprise move that had also raised some eyebrows and also sent a clear message that Amal meant business, not wanting to waste any time to get down to work.
The Sultan didn’t stay long and the change in his tone as soon as the doors to the exco meeting room were shut augured well for the new administration. Smiling broadly and acknowledging everyone by name – showing he had done his homework – the Sultan voiced his support for all the initial steps taken so far by Amal. “Keep up the good work and don’t disappoint me or the people of Selangor who had voted you into power,” he said before leaving them to their deliberations.
The exco meeting didn’t last long, over in 20 minutes as scheduled. And despite the earlier announcement of the Press conference time, Jamilah had to cool her heels for almost 10 minutes for journalists who had gone to partake refreshments served, being so used to previous sessions which would stretch for hours past schedule.
Skipping the preliminaries, Jamilah got right to the point. “For the rest of our allotted time to administer Selangor, until we call for the next election three months before our tenure expiry as we had informed you last week, please take note that we will be punctual and stick to our schedules strictly. Allowance of only 10 minutes will be given until the end of this month for others to get used to our need to be prompt at all times. I don’t want to issue any more reminders.”
So used to bantering with previous politicians who rarely lived up to such definitive pronouncements, a cheeky journalist asked: “What happens if one of us happens to be late because of traffic jams?”
Jamilah didn’t bat an eyelid. “Firstly, one of the first steps we’d be taking is to completely eradicate traffic jams within Selangor so no one can use that as an excuse any more. Secondly, journalists or anyone expected to attend a state event will not be allowed to enter the relevant rooms, which will be locked exactly on time after this grace period till month-end. That person or anyone from the organisation he or she represents will be barred entry to the next state event as well. We will put up the notices of such barred entry plus the reason why at the event concerned, also on all invitations sent out and on the state’s official website. If anyone wants to act in a juvenile manner, we’ll treat you like juveniles until you learn to respect the right of others to expect punctuality.”
“What are you? My mother?” that same journalist responded, a cheeky smile remaining firmly planted on his face.
“Maybe it’s time you started listening to her,” Jamilah snapped back with a steely smile. “Let’s not waste any more time on this inane exchange. Here’s what we’ve decided on today, if you are all ready for what we’re assembled for.”
Seeing the nods, she said:”During our short meeting with the Sultan, all our alternates were also introduced and they are ready to stand for by-elections in case that need ever arises. As you are all aware, each of us has two alternates and they will be working closely with each assemblywoman.”
Making sure the gender emphasis was noted, Jamilah continued: “All three will work as a team to ensure there are no disruptions in any way to whatever needs to be done for their constituencies and also for the people of Selangor. Similarly, our exco members and their alternates have been announced before the state election and continuity will be maintained to cover any eventuality like illness and so on. At no point will this administration ever be affected by anyone absent or unavailable because the alternates will step up to do the job needed.“
Seeing no hands raised to ask any questions, Jamilah move on to the next topic. “As the Right Party or Parti Amal, our focus is not on making all kinds of changes. We’re here to implement and enforce the law as it currently stands and only make changes which are absolutely necessary ad right. At this point, we will not be changing anything done and will allow existing state administrative decisions to stand as they are. Everything will be status quo for three months but the respective officers will be called to account for anything done outside the rules from the date we were elected into office.“
Hands quickly shot up and a journalist asked: “What about decisions made before? Will you be checking into those too?”
Jamilah smiled. “We will not do anything about those. If at all, we will make new decisions to comply with existing rules or formulate new rules which would make such decisions void moving forward. For example, all ‘Lawatan Sambil Belajar’ and training sessions during office hours will now need to be tabled at state exco meetings for approval at least two months in advance. We want to make sure all state funds are spent wisely. Any of these scheduled for the next three months can proceed but the state officers involved will have to pay back every sen spent to the state if we later find such allocations to be unnecessary.”
Bedlam ensued as journalists began vying for Jamilah’s attention, with shouts of “Are you going to stop corruption?” loudest among them.
“Be patient,” Jamilah assured. “We will attend to everything in due time. Our first priority would be to reiterate for anyone having contracts with the state that they should be reminded a total of six days of notice have already passed for terminations. At today’s meeting, we have decided that all such contracts will be allowed to lapse according to their stated contractual notice terms unless the organisation submits within the next six months a request for the contracts to remain valid. So, there’s no need to rush into such issues just yet as we will be discussing each of these contract validity submissions at every exco meeting from now on.”
Calm ensued as her words sunk in. Taking the imitative to continue while the journalists were still preoccupied jotting down her words, Jamilah said: “The full minutes of today’s exco meeting will be posted on the state website at exactly 7pm tonight, and the same applies for every one of our future minutes. All exco meetings will now be scheduled for 8am every Monday and the press conference will be held at exactly 9.30am sharp. Please don’t be late.”
Jamilah turned as if ready to walk out of the room, but held onto the microphone. “Just to give you all a heads up on the main item on the next exco meeting agenda – we will be seeking to implement for all state employees a minimum monthly wage of RM2,500.”
Ignoring the questions shouted out in response, she slipped out of the room with the rest of her exco members.