Post Manifesto, Sorting Out Bread & Butter Issues


Post Manifesto, Sorting Out Bread & Butter Issues

All major parties have outlined their plans and promises ahead of campaigning for GE14. AWANI Review’s Zakiah Koya examines what sets one party plan apart from the other.

If crowd size and organisational prowess is a measure of electoral popularity, the Saturday evening over the weekend  in Bukit Jalil where Barisan Nasional (BN) unveiled its GE14 manifesto should give it plenty of confidence.

The Axiata Stadium was a sea of blue as BN held a rally the way only it can, attracting the party faithful from all corners of the country.

The manifesto did not appear to miss out any groups as big numbers were flashed – the price tag of all manner of offers, services and promises in a show of generosity and concern for the people’s welfare.

BN announced a long list of goodies with a promise to create three million jobs, increase the minimum wage to RM1,500 as well as dangling more handouts and assistance in terms of goods and services.

BN announced a long list of goodies with a promise to create three million jobs, increase the  minimum wage to RM1,500 as well as dangling more handouts and assistance in terms of goods and services. 

Realising that women and youths make up the bulk of voters, BN’s manifesto addressed many of their woes –with programmes for child care, job creation and more business opportunities. 

Those in the rural areas, including the Orang Asli community were promised amenities of roads, highways, schools and housing. 

With the man on the street feeling the financial pinch, there were promises to alleviate the burden due to escalating living costs and and increasing household debt, come GE steps to soften the burden figure in the manifestos.

Election pundits are unanimous that coping with runaway rising costs  would definitely be the mainstay of slogans promised by all candidates from all sides as they vie for every single vote.

On the religious front, it is the BN – with an eye on its rural constituents –  that dangled incentives with religion being the main focus. 

Although PAS had put the term “Islamic state” on the backburner for this GE, BN announced it would upgrade tahfiz schools and set up a Quran University, no doubt with the Muslim vote in mind. 

Manifestos launched by the two main opposition coalitions, while also rolling out the goodies, touched more on reforms of national institutions. 

Pakatan Harapan (PH) made up of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, DAP, Parti Bersatu Pribumi Malaysia and Parti Amanah launched its manifesto first with the theme “Membina Negara Memenuhi Harapan” (Book of Hope: Building the Nation, Fulfilling Hopes).

The party which won the two most developed states in the country in GE13 – Selangor and Pulau Pinang – in its manifesto played up the sentiments of anti-corruption and  abuse of power.

The promises for better values and  and a more equitable spread of wealth to citizens of all classes is the mainstay of their manifesto.

PH’s manifesto also include abolishment of GST, deferred payment of PTPTN student loans, targeted petrol subsidies, EPF for housewives, investigations into alleged scandals involving leaders, re-look of mega projects of the past government and the provision of better and affordable health schemes. 

New coalition Gagasan Sejahtera  comprising PAS and two other smaller parties) also seems to have  toned down their religious fervour  and stuck to the reality on the ground affecting the common man with its manifesto of Malaysia Sejahtera (Prosperous Malaysia).

It is quite apparent that PAS has been advised against using the term “Islamic State” to ensure that they did not spook non-Malay voters.

PAS’ Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man had said that they were not really ditching the Islamic state rallying call,  only that the term is not used, but and what they are promising is a harmonious country based on Syariah laws.

A commentator said this amounts to no more than mere re-labelling it is merely old wine in a new bottle. (PAS’ insistence on hudud laws in Kelantan had riled up non–Muslims who had voted for them in 2013 when the party were with the Pakatan Harapan.)

Additionally, the nine points of the manifesto include the formation of a government with integrity and free from corruption, increasing disposable income, strengthening federalism by returning state government rights and harmonisation the legislation in line with Syariah concepts.

Tuan Ibrahim said that these points were carefully formulated to get the support of all voters regardless of race and religion.