Malaysian election: Barisan Nasional promises 'something exciting' in its manifesto

(From left) Barisan Nasional’s Strategic Communications director, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jama­luddin and MCA publicity spokesman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker.
(From left) Barisan Nasional’s Strategic Communications director, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jama­luddin and MCA publicity spokesman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA/PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR ONLINE/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - With the country heading towards the general election and opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan having already launched its manifesto, ruling coalition Barisan Nasional has promised "something exciting".

"Our manifesto will not be very detailed but there will be something exciting that we are going to propose in the manifesto," the coalition's Strategic Communications director, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, said.

Abdul Rahman, who is Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said its manifesto would touch on the economy, among other things, adding: "We will talk about the people's economy, national economy, women, children, wages and efforts to mitigate the cost of living. It will cover a wide spectrum of society."

He noted that since Barisan was the government, it already had a lot of documents outlining its aspirations and pledges.

Asked when the manifesto would be launched, Abdul Rahman pointed out in the past elections, Barisan's manifesto was revealed only after the dissolution of Parliament.

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said Pakatan's manifesto was "poison laced with sugar", noting that the future generation would have to pay a huge debt for some of these "reckless promises".

Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) publicity spokesman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker said the manifesto had nothing for the Chinese.


"Are they so comfortable with the Chinese votes that they no longer bother to introduce policies for the community?" he asked. MCA is part of Barisan Nasional.

Ti said Pakatan's manifesto catered towards urban voters, like the pledge to limit the tenures of its chief minister and mentri besar to two terms.

However, he said that if the grouping was serious about this, then Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should quit.

Ti also said Barisan's manifesto was visible as it comprised the work the government had been carrying out.

"Voting for Barisan is (voting for) a continuity of good policies," he said.

Another ruling coalition party, Gerakan's secretary-general Datuk Liang Teck Meng said Barisan's manifesto would be "something good" for the people and that it would be "realistic and achievable, not something rhetorical".

"Our manifesto is always a janji (promise). It is not a false or fake hope that cannot be achieved," he said, urging the people to give their full support to the manifesto to be revealed by Barisan chairman, Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has submitted its final report on the redelineation of electoral boundaries for parliamentary and state constituencies to the Prime Minister.

Its chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said the redelineation exercise - as provided for under Article 113(10) of the Federal Constitution - was completed on Friday (March 9).

"With the submission of this final report, the duties and responsibilities of the EC in implementing the delineation exercise have been completed as stipulated in the Constitution," he was quoted in Bernama.

He also expressed its appreciation to those who had cooperated and taken part in providing feedback.

On March 2, the EC had received the nod from the Court of Appeal to submit the report to the Prime Minister Najib after it unanimously dismissed an application for a restraining order by the Selangor government.

It was reported that the exercise was delayed for over a year after 15 cases were filed by various parties and challenged in court. The applications to prevent the EC from implementing the redelineation were, however, rejected by the courts.

Earlier, the Federal Court decided that the EC could proceed with its local inquiry in the proposed redelineation exercise for parliamentary and state constituencies in Selangor.

The court dismissed the Selangor government's application to obtain leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal's decision which set aside a stay to stop the EC from executing the inquiry.

The last day for the EC's local inquiry into the proposed redelineation of electoral boundaries in Selangor was Feb 28.

In an unanimous decision, Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif, who chaired the three-man panel, said at the end of the day, there was unlikely chance of success even if the leave to appeal was granted.

Others on the panel were Federal Court judges Justices Azahar Mohamed and Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha.

Selangor government's counsel Datuk S. Ambiga had earlier submitted that the stay order should remain pending disposal of the appeal hearing by Selangor government at the Court of Appeal on March 23.

Ambiga said the EC had until September this year to complete the redelineation exercise.

Senior Federal Counsel Alice Loke, who acted for the EC, said the Court of Appeal was entirely correct to set aside the stay.

Loke said the EC could not be prohibited from performing its constitutional duties.

On Dec 18 last year, the Court of Appeal set aside an interim stay order by the High Court that barred the EC from conducting the inquiry. In the majority 2-1 decision, Justice Idrus Harun, who sat with Justices Yaacob Md Sam and Rhodzariah Bujang, said that there was merit in the EC's application.

On Dec 7, High Court judge Justice Azizul Azmi Adnan struck out the judicial review application by the Selangor government to challenge the redelineation exercise.

But Justice Azizul granted Selangor government's application for stay of the local inquiry pending an appeal to the Court of Appeal.