In his ‘I Promise’ launching, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has launched a manifesto that is similar to the election manifesto launched by Pakatan Rakyat (PAKATAN) a few weeks ago. However, what is lacking from Barisan Nasional’s (BN) manifesto is a sure mechanism to increase the living standards of Malaysians in the race to face the increase living standards in Malaysia.
Where Najib chooses to continue with the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) handouts, Najib failed to state a sustainable and long term effort to increase the living standards of the the people, particularly the poor. The continuation of the BR1M is apparent in which it is not sufficient to cover a year or even a week’s worth of family expenditure, particularly city areas in developed areas such as the Klang Valley. Where PAKATAN plans to decrease the water and elektrical charges as an effort to reduce the financial burden faced by Malaysians, Najib continues with cash handouts that will not alleviate poor Malaysians from poverty.
Najib also seems to want and continue with more 1Malaysia Shop (KR1M) openings and the goods sold by KR1M stores may be cheaper for not being branded goods but with the low quality and even dangerous scandals, Najib has rejected the rights of Malaysians to access to items of good quality at reasonable prices. He has instead, encouraged a situation of low quality, low prices, and a disregard to ensure the safety and good health of Malaysians in the long term.
Najib has also planned to increase the 1Malaysia book voucher (BB1M) from RM250 to RM300 and yet, at the same time, Najib has also failed to forward any foolproof plans to financially assist students in the long run. This follows the ever increasing entry fees of universities, particularly in the private sector in which there is no alternative for students except to obtain a loan from the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) in which in reality the fund actually provides profits for institutions of higher learning at the expense of holding students ransom for obtaining education post graduation.
As such are the plans for Najib to introduce a new policy called 1Country 1Price for essential goods. Yet, at the same time, Najib has again failed to provide a foolproof mechanism to ensure that new policy does not instead, profit any particular parties. This policy differs from PAKATAN’s plan to raise the minimum wage to RM1,100 a month as a start to help Malaysians face the stiff rise in an ever increasing living standards. Other than placing a political brand on essential goods, it also does not provide any solutions to the cabotage issue in Sabah and Sarawak.
On another note, Najib also failed to disclose any plans to help people of Sabah dan Sarawak to face the the ever price increase of goods considering the fact that both states hold one of the highest poverty rate in Malaysia. Seeing how the 1Country 1Price only covers basic essential goods, it has a myopic scope than the wide scope given by PAKATAN’s plan to abrogate the cabotage policy for once and for all in Sabah and Sarawak.
Under BN’s manifesto, Najib has also chosen to transform the country’s automotive policy by decreasing car prices to at least 20 percent, and yet, it was also taken from PAKATAN’s plan to do the same but by abolishing excise duties. BN’s plans were however void of any detailed mechanisms as to how BN was going to lower car prices as well as the time framed needed to carry out those plans.
In a nutshell, under Najib, the practice of giving out cash handouts is still continued without any firm solutions to the issues of poverty and the inability of Malaysians to face the ever increasing living standards. Where Najib has chosen to place a political brand name on the basic needs of the Malaysian people such as education, housing, essential goods, health, Najib has in turn politicise the everyday life of Malaysians.
BN vs PAKATAN Manifesto: Cost of Living
|1.||Increase 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) to RM1,200 for household, RM600 for singles||Oil price will be reduced by channeling the profits gained from the country’s oil|
|2.||1Malaysia book voucher (BB1M) increased to RM300||Students in private institutions will be given subsidies in line with the government’s costs borned in the public sector|
|3.||School Assistance raised to RM150||Subsistence allowance will be given to students in public of higher education institutionsPTPTN will be abolished|
|4.||Car price lowered between 20 to 30% in stages||National Automotive Policu reorganized by abolishing excise tax. Producing cars as less as RM25,000 per car|
|5.||Increase 1Malaysia Shop (KR1M)||Abolish monopolies to reduce prices of goods|
|6.||Introduce more 1Malaysia products that will be actuated by Government linked companies (GLCs) and the private sector||Decrease the water chargesA subsidy worth RM25 billion will be used to lower the electrical charges|
|7.||Introduce 1Price 1Nation policy for basic goods||Abrogate cabotage system in Sabah dan Sarawak|
|8.||Build 1 million affordable homes and 500,000 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme (PR1MA) housesEnsures the prices of PR1MA houses will at least 20% lower than market prices||Build 150,000 affordable homes (less than RM75,000 for low cost category and RM250,000 for medium cost category)|