4:53pm 08/11/2022
PN should set its sight on the global arena in its manifesto
By:Sin Chew Daily

The competition we are going to face today comes from the world, not other ethnic communities within the same country.

Perikatan Nasional, one of the three major political camps contesting the 15th general election, launched its election manifesto on Sunday.

PN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin said all Malaysians had yearned for a clean and corruption-free government because corruption and abuse of power had done tremendous damage to the nation and her people.

He cited the example of the misappropriation of 1MDB funds by the previous Barisan Nasional administration, hurting not just the country’s finances but also its international repute.

Even though the government has managed to retrieve some RM20 billion of 1MDB funds and assets, it still needs to pay RM2 billion of debts for the company annually.

PN has made battling corruption its principal mission in GE15. Indeed, if it is unable to weed out the rampant corruption problem, PN’s 12 pillars and 50 major proposals outlined in the manifesto will be incapacitated or defeated.

Pakatan Harapan, another major political camp, has recently launched its Harapan Action Plan with ten priorities, including the battling of corruption as a priority mission in rebuilding Malaysia and strengthening the country’s democracy.

Both PN and PH have reaffirmed their positions to wipe out corruption. The question now is how Barisan Nasional, which was unseated in the last general election because of corruption and abuse of power, is going to deliver itself from the shadow of corruption when it launches its election manifesto soon. How it is going to reinvent its tainted image in words and slogans will be crucial to the election’s final outcome.

PN’s 12 pillars encompass, among other things, building a more competitive economy for the future; raising the people’s value and standard of living; prospering bumiputras, youths, women, senior citizens, people with disabilities and Felda generation; and preserving the well-being of all races. All these have been clearly outlined naturally with winning the voters’ hearts very much in mind.

Among the three major political camps, PN will have very tough time in 28 Chinese-majority and mixed constituencies, and understandably it will need to focus its appeals on the Malay electorate.

PN’s component parties are Bersatu, PAS, Gerakan Rakyat and Sabah’s regional parties SAPP and STAR. Together these parties will contest 175 parliamentary seats, and given the fact all parliamentary seats on the peninsula will see at least three-cornered fights, it will be very difficult for PN to make a dent in such a stiffly competitive environment.

In addition to 12 pillars, PN has also put forward 50 major proposals in its manifesto. And since these are only “proposals,” they are by no means “promises” but just a kind of ideas.

If these are only proposals, the issues to be discussed should include stabilizing the ringgit exchange rate, preventing a stagflation, five-year economic goals, supporting competitive industries, flood mitigation, KL-Singapore high speed rail project, carbon neutrality, forest and water resource preservation, trimming and streamlining of civil service, fairer taxation system and recognition of UEC, among others.

Unfortunately, these important issues have either been lightly touched on or shunned altogether.

Most of the proposals have stayed around “subsidies” and “allowances” without any macroscopic long-term development plan for the nation.

The manifestos of both PN and PH have mentioned addressing the people’s plight, assisting the low-income and underprivileged communities, and improving the competitiveness of micro businesses and SMEs.

The thing is, if they manage to win the public’s mandate to run the country, they will do it for the next five years. Consequently, they should have come up with major  policy directions (visions or blueprints), quantitative policy goals, executive strategies, etc. and not just hundreds of ringgit in subsidies and allowances for the poor.

Instead of giving a man a fish, teach him how to fish. Besides stepping up effort to battle corruption, we need to understand that we can only enhance the country’s international competitiveness through education and reinforcing the quality of our people and companies.

The competition we are going to face today comes from the world, not other ethnic communities within the same country. If we can’t work together as one nation, we can’t go further from where we are now.

As such, the election manifesto needs to set its sight on the global arena, not just confined to a specific community.




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