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Umno veep: Rakyat still dogged by ‘rice bowl issues’ after 100 days

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100 DAYS | Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob (above) has called out the Pakatan Harapan government for failing to fulfil its “unrealistic” election promises and claimed that the rakyat has continued to be plagued by "rice-bowl issues" after 100 days of the coalition taking Putrajaya.

In a statement, he said the high cost of living remained a persistent issue which has caused the people to see through Harapan’s political rhetoric.

“Rice-bowl issues continue to be a priority for the rakyat, they still want the (high) cost of living to be addressed and they want a better life.

“[...] The mandate given by the people (to Harapan) was to give them a better life compared to the former government. However, all they have been served with are political speeches and rhetoric,” he said.

According to Ismail, the price of goods had not dropped despite the two-month “tax holiday” enjoyed by the people after Harapan zero-rated and later abolished the goods and services tax (GST). This is one of the two 100-day promises the new government has been able to fulfil.

“The price of basic goods is still expensive for the B40 group, who are those with an average monthly household income of less than RM3,860.

“And we can’t discount the possibility that the price of goods will rise again with the introduction of the Sales and Services Tax (SST) on Sept 1,” said the Bera MP. 

Stop hiding behind debt ‘excuse’ 

The remaining eight unfulfilled 100-day promises, which includes abolishing all highway tolls in stages, settling Felda settlers’ debt, reducing the price of petrol and raising the minimum wage to RM1,500, proved that these pledges were “unrealistic”, Ismail said.

“What is sure is that they only wanted to win (the 14th general election) using whichever way they could, even through slander and lying,” he claimed.

Works Minister Baru Bian previously said the government had to postpone its plan to abolish tolls until the country’s economic situation had “stabilised”.

In his 100 day address yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad repeated that Harapan had not anticipated the RM1 trillion in accumulative debt and liabilities left by the former BN administration and said Harapan would need more time to fulfil its election promises.

Mahathir had also outlined that progress was ongoing on many of its 100-day promises.

Ismail, who was previously rural and regional development minister, rejected this explanation as an “excuse” by the Harapan to default on its election promises.

“The Harapan government has been confusing the rakyat by hiding behind the excuse of having to bear a large national debt (and thus could not) fulfil its 100-day promises. 

“What’s surprising is that during the era of the former (BN) government, the country’s economy was recognised as one of the best by international rating agencies including the World Bank. 

“Therefore the national debt excuse is a mere excuse for them (Harapan) to default on their promises to reduce the price of fuel, abolish tolls and other promises,” he said.

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