Malaysiakini News

Minister pans Harapan manifesto as 'mere rhetoric'

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Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan has panned Pakatan Harapan’s promises for its first 100 days in power as little more than “mere rhetoric”.

“There are no new promises that are fresh and realistic that can benefit the people,” he said in a series of tweets last night.

Among others, he questioned how Harapan would cover an RM20 billion shortfall in revenue if it abolishes the goods and services tax (GST) and reinstates the sales and services tax (SST) as it has pledged, which Rahman said was not transparent and inefficient.

He accused the opposition coalition of being in a “flip-flop” by promising targeted fuel subsidies. He said the BN-led government had already provided targeted subsidies in the form of direct cash transfers, whereas certain unnamed opposition leaders have been promising to reduce petrol prices to RM1.50 per litre.

In addition, Rahman said the opposition coalition had promised to eliminate student loan debts owned to the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN), but it now said those earning a gross income above RM4,000 per month would have to repay the loan.

In contrast, he said, the government had exempted 41,706 students from repaying their loan after they earned first class honours, totalling RM1.23 billion in forgiven debts.

By the same token, Rahman said, Harapan’s promise to forgive certain debts owed by Felda settlers should not be trusted.

As for the various Royal Commissions of Inquiry (RCI) promised by Harapan, he noted that DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang had long called for an RCI on Bank Negara’s foreign exchange (forex) scandal.

“But when the inquiry has been completed, he rejects the inquiry’s findings. He should have an RCI on the (Penang) undersea tunnel too!” he said.

Referring to Harapan’s promise on the Malaysia Agreement 1963, Rahman said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had already formed a special cabinet committee on the issue and promised to restore Sabah’s and Sarawak’s rights that had been taken away, or not contained in the agreement.

He also criticised Harapan’s plan to expand nationwide its Skim Peduli Sihat health scheme implemented in Selangor, which provides low-income earners up to RM500 worth of treatment in private medical facilities.

He said there are no such limits in government hospitals, and the government had spent RM26.5 billion on healthcare for the people.

As for Harapan’s promise for a detailed review of megaprojects awarded to foreign companies, Rahman asked, “Which local company built KLCC, LRT Star, Putra Lines and Dayabumi?”

'Minimum wage is reviewed every two years'

These were projects undertaken during Pakatan Harapan chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s reign as prime minister.

He also said there was no need for Harapan to take power if the people are to get a higher minimum wage because the minimum wage is reviewed every two years and it is due to be reviewed again this year.

He also panned Harapan’s promise to extend the Employees’ Provident Fund facilities to homemakers.

“Compared to Harapan, which wants homemakers to stay at home, BN has more comprehensive plans to empower women. BN inspires them to remain or join the labour market and contribute to the national economy to raise their family’s economy,” he said.

Separately, MCA publicity chief Chai Kim Sen (photo) accused Harapan of neglecting the rights of Chinese vernacular schools (SJKC, the national-type Chinese primary schools) and of the Chinese community.

“The (Harapan) election manifesto does not contain any constructive reform promise, and most of them are unreachable.

“PH has vowed that its manifesto will be inclusive in nature, but the fact that it lacks a clear plan for the development of Chinese education and SJKCs is bewildering,” Chai said in a statement today.

He said it was regrettable that the welfare of certain groups, such as Indian Malaysians and Felda settlers, are addressed in the manifesto, but the Chinese community and entrepreneurs have been sidelined.

“What say you, DAP? DAP has been calling itself a multiracial party, but it never defended the rights and interests of the Chinese community, as proven by its manifesto,” Chai said.

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