Since yesterday, Najib Abdul Razak has come under sustained heavy fire for reneging on his promise - issued three times - to repeal the Sedition Act. Indeed he now wants to add on to the existing Act. I’d say he deserves every bit of the torrents of scathing criticism.
But the latest U-turn is hardly the first from Najib and his Umno-dominated BN government. Searching the Internet quickly unearthed:
1. RON95 price hike - the government promised a price reduction if Brent crude oil fell to below US$75 per barrel, and as of Nov 20 still had not done so when oil had fallen to US$71.60 per barrel. Worse, Najib himself promised in February 2011 that the RM1.90 per litre price “would be maintained despite the escalating global oil price”. The oil price in February 2011 was US$113 per barrel.
2. Aid for poor Indian Malaysians - in 2012, Najib issued his ‘nambikei’ promises to our Indian brethren, but to date, there has been little delivered. Indeed, Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia president P Waythamoorthy, who was made a deputy minister in the PM’s Department, quit in protest in February 2014.
3. JB EDL tolls - Najib promised the JB folk the double-barrelled pledges “No toll charges for those who don’t use EDL” and “No toll on EDL” in 2002. This year that promise went up in smoke.
4. Peaceful Assembly - on the eve of Malaysia Day 2011, Najib's own mouth proclaimed, “I often opine that long gone is the era in which the government knows everything and claims monopoly over wisdom... The government will also review Section 27 of the Police Act 1967, taking into consideration Article 10 of the federal constitution regarding freedom of assembly and so as to be in line with international norms on the same matter.”
Just a couple of months later, by November 2011, the tabling of the Peaceful Assembly Bill in Parliament was hammered for “restrictive provisions in the Bill effectively render meaningless our constitutional guarantee”.
5. Teoh Beng Hock’s death - Najib promised Teoh’s family in 2009 that “he would leave no stone unturned to find out the causes and circumstances of Teoh’s death”. Five year on, what has happened, aside from one of the key MACC officers involved being promoted?
And on the eastern side of Malaysia...
6. Sri Aman Hospital - while campaigning during the April 2011 state elections, Najib promised a new hospital, two specialists and other goodies. Three months later, there was a report that two siblings were demanding an answer to why the promise had not been delivered. Reportedly, their ailing father had just died for want of a specialist in Sri Aman.
7. Batu Sapi low-cost housing - in May 2011, villagers there were up in arms over the broken ‘roof over everyone’ promises from BN as demolition orders had been issued for the entire village of 190 houses.
Further searching will likely add to the sorry list.
No doubt, Najib is not the only politician to break a promise to the rakyat. But to break the promise on the repeal of the Sedition Act, and almost with the same breath declare, “The BN government, and Umno, is one that fulfils its promises” is simply beyond belief!