Penang and Selangor are the testing ground for alternative and future styles of governance in Malaysia. What will be decisive in the long run is not so much the points gained in the daily rhetorical sniping that seems to be an inescapable part of a two-coalitional politics, but how well the state governments are run. The state budgets are therefore what analysts should be studying.
Amidst the noise and clamour of Malaysia’s politics, it is easy to forget that daily responsibilities continue for governments and bureaucrats. The Pakatan Rakyat (Pakatan) coalition for example, has suffered several recent shocks, namely the twin by-election losses in Galas and Batu Sapi, followed by the damage control it has had to put into action following Zaid Ibrahim’s decision to quit the Deputy Presidency race. These events have occupied much media space.
Whilst Pakatan’s political resilience is an absorbing issue, it is perhaps more important to examine the ways in which Pakatan state governments are running their states respectively.
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