Malaysia GE13: Opposition accuses BN of copying its election manifesto
KUALA LUMPUR - Opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders on Sunday accused Barisan Nasional (BN) of copying their election manifesto and said the ruling coalition's promises of more cash handouts would not fix flaws in the country's system.
Secretary-general of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), Mustafa Ali, said that many items in the BN manifesto launched on Saturday were similar to those in the PR manifesto.
"What was presented by BN has many similarities, not a coincidence but taken from PR," Malaysian Insider quoted him as saying.
Another PAS member Dzulkefly Ahmad pointed out that the similarities - including lower car prices - proved that PR's electoral promises were actually feasible, according to the news website.
The PAS strategist attacked BN's cash handout scheme to the low-income group under the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) initiative, saying: "BR1M is the people's money, not BN".
Mr Dzulkefly said PR would be able to offer more than BR1M by stopping corruption and rent-seeking practices in the country, alleging that BN had failed to resolve them.
"BN - it's about giving more money. PR's offer is giving the nation a 'new deal' that the rakyat (people) deserve," the Kuala Selangor MP told the Malaysian Insider.
PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar also highlighted the BN's lower car price pledge which her party had promised to implement by slashing excise duties on cars. "The best form of flattery is when people plagiarise your ideas," she said.
She expressed her disappointment over BN's failure to address the problem of monopolies in Malaysia, where key assets are seen to be controlled by, and only benefit, a small group of individuals.
"That is why for me it doesn't address Malaysia's problems," the Lembah Pantai MP said of BN's electoral promises.
She said that PR had successfully forced BN to enter a discourse to improve the people's disposable income, but lamented that BN's approach does not address the flaws in the system.
"I believe the rakyat will be able to judge and compare and see that PR's offering is far better," she told reporters on Sunday.
The news website also quoted DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng as saying that the ruling coalition had neglected macro-economic issues in its pledges.
"BN's manifesto clearly overlooks the 4D problems of Deficits, Debts, Deceit from corruption and brain Drain which has caused Malaysia to be caught in a middle-income trap," said Mr Lim, who heads the Penang state government.
He pointed to corruption allegations against families of national and state leaders, while saying that the country's national debt and budget deficit had continued to increase.
In a generous manifesto titled "A Promise of Hope", BN appears to be gearing at helping voters cope with the high cost of living by spending heavily on goods and services that will benefit them, even as the country tries to trim its huge debts.
Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is BN chairman, said the increased spending in BR1M was possible because of the country's strong economic growth, adding that the scheme would boost private consumption and contribute to the local economy.