KUALA LUMPUR • The rising cost of living and the widening income gap are what the Malaysian public is most concerned about these days, said president of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) Liow Tiong Lai at the launch of the party's election manifesto.
MCA listed specific actions to address these issues over the next five years in its manifesto, which contains 10 promises and 10 initiatives which the party must implement.
"The MCA's performance in this election will have a direct impact on the party's efforts to help the people," Datuk Seri Liow said when launching the manifesto in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
Noting that voters aged between 21 and 35 made up 45 per cent of the electorate, Mr Liow said: "The youth play an important role in the country's economic development and democracy."
The party's election pledges span education, training, jobs, business and investment opportunities.
Saying that MCA's political struggle is for the long haul, Mr Liow assured the people that the party would not make empty promises to fish for votes. The party has seven parliamentary seats and 11 state assembly seats.
He said it was important to not only address current issues but also to create favourable conditions for the Chinese community's youth to face new challenges.
"There will be major changes in the global economy, labour market and business. The digital revolution will not only encourage the growth of a new economy but also change the lifestyle of future generations. The youth of today will dominate in this major change," he said.
Stressing that education is the foundation of every nation, Mr Liow pointed out that the 69-year-old MCA's role in the sector has evolved to meet changing times, covering pre-school to primary school, vocational training to tertiary education.
Singling out the party's 16-year-old Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), which is ranked second in Malaysia after Universiti Malaya by Times Higher Education, he said the university is in the process of setting up its teaching hospital in Kampar, Perak.
"UTAR Hospital is set to be a premier healthcare institution that combines modern and complementary medicine like traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda," he said of MCA's promise to provide accessible and quality healthcare.
According to Mr Liow, MCA will also create more economic opportunities, including setting up Kojadi Co-operative Bank with branches in various states to provide financing for young entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized enterprises.
"Times have changed. While we face more challenges, we also encounter more development opportunities," he added.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK