[UPDATE 9 April 2018]: Two days ago, PM Najib Razak presented Barisan Nasional’s manifesto which contains 341 initiatives, divided into 14 thrusts. They touched on women’s issues, housing, employment, impriving telecommunications in Sabah and Sarawak, transportation and so on. Click here if you want to read more about them.
Pakatan Harapan on the other hand had released theirs earlier on on 8 March, which promises 10 changes within 100 days of administration – namely getting rid of GST, standardising minimum wage, and stabilising oil prices among other important things. Click here to read more about their manifesto.
We wrote this article about Najib’s promises before GE13 to see if his janji ditepati or capati. Let’s see how they did…
*This article was written 2 Sep 2016
Something is stirring in the political scene in Malaysia right now and that’s GE14! Politicians and analysts are guessing that PM Najib might call for elections in 2017. But exactly when? In June, Najib dropped this clue: “I can only say the General Election will be held after Hari Raya. But as to which year’s Hari Raya, I don’t know.” So maybe he might call for it after next year’s Hari Raya (which according to timeanddate.com is on 15 & 16 June). Who knows.
Whoah, it felt like it wasn’t long ago that the messy indelible ink scandal rocked Malaysia, and now it’s time to get our fingers painted again! In light of the upcoming elections, we take a look at some of Najib’s GE13 promises and what he’s done for the country since then. Here is the full text for Barisan Nasional’s GE13 Manifesto. (P/S: A manifesto is a public declaration of policies and promises before an election by a political party/candidate). Without further ado, here are 7:
1. To gradually reduce car prices by 20-30%
One of Najib’s promises was to revamp the National Automotive Policy (NAP), in order to reduce car prices by 20%-30%. The NAP was introduced in March 2006 by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti), to transform Malaysia’s automotive industry to make it world class (this is the short explanation, but for more info, click here).
Has BN been good on their word? According to the Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) CEO Madani Sahari, overall average car price was reduced by 4.97% in 2013, and by August 2014, it has been dropped a further 4.4%.
“We are hoping to reach the 5% reduction by end of this year. It is not immediately because they are simply too many negative impacts if it were to be reduced drastically.” Madani Sahari, CEO of the Malaysia Automotive Institute, Borneo Post
So what they’ve done is stagger the reduction. CILISOS recently wrote an article on why so many used car dealers in the Klang Valley are losing so much business that they might possibly close down. The short answer is that they’re facing strong competition from new car dealers. New cars have DECREASED in price, so people would rather buy a new car than a used one! Among them are Honda Jazz (reduced by 17%), Nissan Sentra (13%), Proton Saga (12%) and Perodua Alza (12%) as some examples.
Promise kept, BUUUT not for every car model. And as far as we could find, they have not reached the 20%-30% mark as promised yet. Never mind, there’s still time!
2. To create fair policies for all races in Malaysia
In heading towards Vision 2020, Najib promised to build on our economy and improve our global competitiveness… while being ‘fair and equitable to all races in Malaysia’! To do this, BN aims to promote pro-growth policies and they want greater participation of the private sector. So essentially what they’re saying is kinda like they wanna abolish cronyism, right? When you think about, it’s only when we are fair and put everyone on a level playing field, that our economy can develop.
Malaysia has something called the Bumiputra quota. It is a rule that 30% of business ownership is to be held by Bumiputras since 1971. One of the CILISOS team-members can relate – his dad was moved overseas, so that he can be promoted a few times before being brought back here, because of the quota.
Unfortunately, two words, Mara.Digital. Better known as Low Yat 2, a Bumi-only digital mall that opened in KL after the whole Low Yat incident (to recap, click here). This business initiative was given support by Ismail Sabri the Minister of Rural and Regional Development. He even gave them free six months rent. WAHH!
BUUUT, Malaysia has signed the TPPA with US President Obama in February. (To read about the TPPA, click here.) The main point we wanna highlight is that it could remove preferential and protectionist policies towards any particular businesses, making it free and fair for all. Let’s see how this develops…
BN has not said they would abolish the Bumi quota in businesses to date, and in fact, Mara Digital (aka Low Yat 2) seems more like a regression than a progression of our economy. However, could the TPPA’s policy of making business fair for all give us hope? We’ll see…
3. To be in the top third category of the best education systems in the world
WOW, now this is a promise we’d definitely support! Who wouldn’t want world-class education system for their country? Since 2013, has the education system improved or deteriorated?
Malaysian Digest reported that in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) global education rankings for 2015, we didn’t fare too well. We were no. 52 out of 72 countries. This is the one where they test 15-year-olds in Maths and Science. (Singapore was no. 1, just saying). Instead of brushing it off as another statistic, OECD’s Education Director gave us something to think about…
“Today’s 15 year-olds with poor problem-solving skills will become tomorrow’s adults struggling to find or keep a good job. Poor education policies and practices leave many countries in what amounts to a permanent state of economic recession.” – Andreas Schleicher, OECD’s Education Director, Malaysian Digest
It was after this incident that the Sultan of Johor famously called for Malaysia to follow Singapore’s system by learning in English. So, the Education Ministry has implemented the Dual Language Programme (DLP) last January in 296 schools. Under DLP, the English is fully used in Science, Mathematics and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. Also, the Government initially planned to make English a must-pass SPM subject, then u-turned on it, saying students and teachers are not ready for it.
Aiyo, no wonder so many Malaysians prefer vernacular schools. It’s shocking that the Education Ministry which gets the most money from Budget cannot improve their portfolio. Seems like our education quality isn’t seeing the fruits of our labour yet, but hey some of the policies (like DLP) are a good – if only they didn’t carried it out instead of flip flopping. We always hear about changes in the teaching syllabus. Being CONSISTENT is one of the key things our education system desperately needs experts say.
4. To beef up the armed forces to fight incursion & external threat
The Government seems to be on its toes when it comes to beefing up military might. Firstly, there’s the National Security Council (NSC) Act which took effect 1 Aug this year. This scary Act lets the army take away most our civil liberties within a Security Area (a zone anywhere in the country where Emergency-like laws will be enforced). Additionally, NSC allows the Prime Minister to seize control of the armed forces from the Agong!
As far as the rakyat can see, the presence of army flers has increased recently, especially in the city centre and public areas, what with IS threats and all. Yet, we’ve not been able to crack down on Abu Sayyaf threats in Sabah. After Bernard Then‘s beheading rocked the country (he was the first Malaysian hostage beheaded by Abu Sayyaf), you would think the army would reeeally get down to business to defeat the terrorists, but kidnappings continued. Worse than that, the armed forces have a suspicion that kidnappers are possibly getting ‘inside help’ (ie. corruption and leakages)!
Yes, they’ve managed to keep this promise to a huge extent. For example, the cops have caught 9 suspected ISIS militants. Now, if they could nip Abu Sayyaf activities at the bud, we would have a lot safer Malaysia. Uhm, also the armed forces needs to be on high alert for enemy spy monkeys stealing our top secret documents!
5. To ensure other religions can be practiced in peace and harmony
Growing up in Malaysia, you might have always had the idea that you were free to practice your religion without persecution. You are correct because the Constitution guarantees every citizen this freedom. Although, since BN made the promise in 2013, a lot of things have happened…
The cross protest in April 2015, which resulted in a church in Petaling Jaya taking down their cross, temple demolitions, the seizing of BM-language Bibles in January 2014, students who want to wear symbols of religion first need consent from the school (one Sabah secondary school student had his cross confiscated from him), etc.
Also, an ex-judge stated that ‘huge’ Hindu and Buddhist statues should not be built in the open, but should be placed within an enclosed building. “When non-Muslims build such big idols, it hurts people’s feelings,” he said. But what about the feelings of Hindus and Buddhists then?
Even Muslims from different sects face persecution. Sunni is the the official, legal form in Malaysia, while other forms are considered deviant and are not allowed to be spread. Shia Muslims have had their places of worship raided by JAIS, and 114 Shia Muslims were arrested in Perak in 2014. Many Shias fear for their safety and have gone underground.
Malaysians are practicing their respective religions, but whether you agree that the people can do it in ‘peace and harmony’ is up for debate. Even so, the peace seems fragile. Cases of attacks, both on non-Muslims and on Muslims, is a sign we have not been able to fully attain this promise, unless the Government puts its foot down and makes examples of people who try to stir up rifts.
6. To increase BR1M to RM1,200
Literally, the BN promised they would: “Gradually increase BR1M up to RM1,200 for households and RM600 for singles while maintaining it on an annual basis.”
It’s still on an annual basis alright 😛 … but so far, the amount hasn’t mencapai RM1,200 for households or RM600 for singles. Not throughout 2014-2016 la. Here is the breakdown:
- 2014: Households RM700 | Singles RM300
- 2015: Households RM750 | Singles RM350
- 2016: Households RM1,050 | Singles RM400 (For a more detailed breakdown of BR1M 2016, look at the table below)
If you noticed, they had a big jump for BR1M household from RM750 in 2015 to RM1,050 this year – an increase of RM300. And they still have 2017. So maybe they might make another big increase from RM1,050 to RM1,200 for households and RM400 to RM600 for singles next year?
Let’s see what happens for BR1M 2017.
7. To abolish the Sedition Act
The Sedition Act is a law that bans people from expressing anything that is deemed ‘seditious’, that includes anything that would incite ‘hatred’ or ‘fear’ towards different races and the Government. This law that stifles our Constitutional freedom of speech is not liked by all Malaysians and there have been many protests against it.
So in 2012, Najib promised to abolish the Sedition Act – that was before the BN manifesto was declared. During his manifesto speech, he reminded the public what good job he’d done by abolishing it. But before people had a chance to celebrate life as Sedition Act-free citizens, Najib brought.it.back! Aiyo, why so potong stim one?
Plus, the Government went on to add a couple more new Acts that are equally, if not freakier than the predecessor – there’s the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA), the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), and the NSC Act (mentioned in Point 4). 😯
Sorry ugaiz, there’s no sugarcoating this. BN epicly failed to keep this promise. Not to mention this on-again, off-again charade is pure evil! 🙁
So, will you pick your candidate based on what they’ve promised?
Elections present us with important choices. Do we want the Ubah Bird or the blue ‘Undilah BN’ t-shirt? Nah, we’re just kidding. But yes, important choices! It is a time where we need to consider the issues we care about and decide which candidate to support. So, how should voters go about judging candidates?
Well, this is only a suggestion from smartvoter.org, but it’s a good idea to evaluate a candidate’s stand on issues before deciding. For example, if you’re worried about a dengue epidemic in your condo, and Candidate A pledges to hapuskan dengue, then Candidate A would be the one. If you care about the state of the economy and corruption in the country and Candidate B promises to address that, then Candidate B would be the one.
Having said all that, it’s not just a matter of being blinded by sweet promises! We also need to keep politicians in check by seeing if they really FULFIL them. Some of the things voters have said during the recent Sarawak Elections make us proud to see this political maturity:
“We do not want candidates who merely come to give money or ‘goodies’ during the campaign but forget their promises. We are not like the previous generation who were easily duped in that way.” – Mohd Zuhair Zaini, quoted by Bernama (click for more)
In September 2015, BN dropped a surprise when they promised to release a report card to show the rakyat whether they’ve been keeping their promises. BUT until today, no sign of the report card! So… they didn’t keep their promise to show us a report card of their promises. Uhuh ok.
Anyway, who needs to wait for Najib to come up with a report card. If we are to become mature, informed voters, the rakyat should be capable of keeping track of whichever political parties’ promises, right? We’ll start our own report card. Write it with indelible ink if we have to! 😉
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- WHY DO SMALL TOWN VOTERS ALWAYS CHOOSE BN? WE ASKED THEM!