The Barisan Nasional (BN) presented its election manifesto over the weekend where it pledged to attract RM1.3 trillion worth of investments and create 3.3 million jobs over the next five years while striving to improve the quality of life through giving more cash incentives to the people.
Speaking to a sea of blue of BN supporters and selected guests at Bukit Jalil on Saturday, caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak delivered the ruling coalition’s 17-point manifesto (themed A Promise of Hope) that is full of pledges aimed at improving lives of Malaysians over the next five years.
“I guarantee that if we get a new strong mandate, we will deliver what we say in the manifesto,” said Najib.
Najib set the tone for the manifesto saying that BN followed the low tax and high growth model in arriving with the manifesto that is targeted at economic growth while raising standard of living in line with the 2020 developed nation aim.
The first pledge of the evening was to gradually lower personal and corporate tax followed by the investments and job creation pledge that include creation of two million high income jobs.
Najib went on to promise the gradual increment of the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia payment from RM500 to RM1,200 for households and RM600 for singles, and a range of measures aimed at giving people greater access to affordable goods and services like essential goods, Internet broadband, healthcare and education.
Najib also said that one million affordable housing units will be built over the next five years in addition to many new roads and highways to be constructed in the Peninsular and East Malaysia while taking steps to improve public transportation system.
The other main issues addressed were education and women empowerment.
Najib ended his speech saying that trustworthiness is the theme of this election and pleaded with the people, saying: “This election will determine our nation’s destiny. We need a majority win so that all the programmes can be completed.”
Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said to the media after the event that the manifesto presented is realistic.
“The calculation is consistent with the nation’s economic growth and it is something that the government could afford,” said Mustapa.
Minister of Defence Datuk Seri Dr Zahid Hamidi said to the media that it is a comprehensive manifesto that focused on all target groups, full of new products to fulfill the needs of people.
“Focus is also given to voters’ trend where 60% of voters are urbanites therefore the creation of a ministry to focus on the issues and well being of city dwellers,” Dr Zahid said, commenting on a pledge to address the urbanisation of the country.
During his speech, Najib took many swats at the Opposition citing that their manifesto as being “fantasy and delusional” for making promises that they cannot deliver as their promises would bankrupt the country.
“The Opposition’s promise would make the country’s deficit rise to 11.5% while the national debt would jump to 65%. As a result, rating agencies would downgrade the country,” Najib said.
Najib cited that the former Selangor government had fulfilled only 15% of the “promises” they made in the last elections adding that the water problem in Selangor hampered foreign investment to the state.
“I find the manifesto to be apt for the time and refuted the Opposition’s ‘glimmering manifesto’ that is both ‘fantasy and delusional’”.
The downside to the country would be tremendous if the Opposition’s manifesto is implemented as they know nothing about managing a nation’s finance,” said former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to the media.
“That is why they came out with a manifesto that is rather stupid,” added Dr Mahathir. The event that was broadcast live to the nation by the major TV channels was attended by many political leaders past and present, with the glaring exception of the man who delivered BN’s manifesto in 2008, former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.