Still waiting on election promises


  • Focus
  • Saturday, 29 Sep 2018

PEOPLE are still harping on election manifesto promises which the new coalition has yet to fulfil.

In the wake of the 14th general election, the 100-day manifesto of Pakatan Harapan is being scrutinised.

Does anyone remember the promises made before GE13 or GE12 or any other election before that?

Remember the Penang Bridge toll promises?

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak came to town and promised free passage across the bridge for motorcycles.

Hours later, then Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng cleverly upped the ante and promised that the bridge would be completely toll-free.

In Malaysian lingo, we call this wayang or political theatrics.

I found it all very entertaining. I looked forward to each retort from the opposite side.

We should not be like children and cry: “But mummy, you promised!”

Now, Pakatan Harapan did

fulfil some of their promises.

The Government abolished the goods and services tax, and an earnest hunt has begun for those responsible for the 1MDB controversy.

As for the other promises, maybe not yet? Or at a later date?

You cannot fault Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for being honest. He told the world Pakatan could

not fulfil all the promises in its manifesto because it did not expect to win!

So the politicians were just putting on a show and we, the audience, bought front-row tickets to the wayang.

Dr Mahathir would know.

Can anyone remember any of the manifesto promises that were never fulfilled during his previous 22-year tenure or during the last 10 years under Najib?

I don’t and I have been around for more than three decades, starting my working life the year Mahathir came to power in 1981.

If elections were won just on fulfilling manifestos, Barisan Nasional would not have been able to rule for 60 years because there has been tons of unfulfilled promises.

Elections are usually won on negative rather than positive elements. We have a saying in the newsroom: people wanna read about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

At The Star Online, stories along those lines get astronomical-level hits.

In politics, seats tend to be won by candidates who can portray how bad the other guy is!

People want to be shocked by scandals, not lulled by promises. So we do not have to lament the unfulfilled promises.

It is a universal issue which is not confined to Third World countries as even presidential elections in developed countries are won the same way.

One which comes to recent memory is the United States’ presidential elections in 2016.

Everyone thought Hilary Clinton would triumph, but Donald Trump ran a smear campaign on her.

People heard all about her leaked email and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s case on her.

Both candidates spent millions of dollars taking out advertisements in newspapers and on television.

The focus was more on showing how bad the other candidate would be for the country,

rather than what they would do if elected.

So for all those who are still hung up on Pakatan promises, forget it.

You can shout until the cows come home and nothing is going to happen.

But they still have four years to make good on their promises, before power comes back to us.

Maybe they are saving the best promises for last. 


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