KUALA LUMPUR: To ensure stability and prosperity for Malaysia, Barisan Nasional has ambitious plans for the nation if it wins the 15th General Election (GE15). Called “Padu”, an acronym for “Perancangan Amal dan Usaha”, the manifesto covers 99 initiatives such as the rising cost of living, political stability, healthcare, education, food security, environmental protection and initiatives to attract foreign investments.
The manifesto will be distributed to every district polling centre in the country.
Launched by Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi via Facebook live last night, Padu outlined plans that would steer the nation towards better development.
He also spoke about a 2% cut in income tax for those earning between RM50,000 and RM100,000 annually.
“This will increase the purchasing power of the M40 (middle income group) and it will indirectly assist in reducing the burden of the cost of living,” he said.
Barisan wants to eradicate absolute poverty by introducing an assistive basic income scheme by 2025 through which a sum will be credited to all households earning below RM2,208 monthly, in addition to continuing other welfare programmes for eligible groups.
“It will ensure no more households live below the poverty line. In other words, absolute poverty will be history in Malaysia,” he said.
The manifesto also addresses the hot button issue of separating the role and function of the Attorney General and Public Prosecutor – the coalition promises to separate the roles to eliminate conflict of interest.
It pledges to establish a parliamentary special select committee to scrutinise recommendations and vetting of key national positions such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s chief commissioner, Election Commission chairman and Bank Negara governor.
“The people will be given the mandate to scrutinise and be involved in vetting the appointment of crucial positions in the country,” said Ahmad Zahid.
To ensure Sabah and Sarawak are developed in line with the spirit of the Constitution, Barisan pledges to make the two Bornean states the new national security hub.
There are also plans to make the two states “new economic giants” of the country.
On healthcare, Barisan wants to double the annual allocation from RM36bil to RM76bil by 2027 to enhance the quality, access and expertise in the public healthcare system.
To increase foreign direct investments, Barisan will introduce a migrant worker policy which will focus on skills and a remuneration scheme.
There will also be limits placed on government-linked corporations’ (GLCs) investments and involvement in certain industries to prevent them from crowding out opportunities for private companies.
Barisan also wants to carry out reforms on immigration laws and regulations by introducing various types of visas to attract investors, talents and skilled workers to Malaysia.
To address food security issues, Barisan will set up six new “food valleys” in strategic locations across the country.
It plans to remove the requirement for approved permits (AP) for agro-food import, especially for products that are not produced domestically.
Barisan also wants GLC-owned farms to be designated for food production instead of cash crops.
On boosting the role of women, Barisan will provide tax deduction incentives to employers who introduce flexible working hours for working mothers.
The coalition also plans to upgrade microcredit organisation Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia and establish an economic development bank for women.
It also wants to set up the first women’s public specialist hospital focusing on women’s health issues, as well as the first women’s public university.
As for the rural folk, Barisan wants to provide 100% Internet coverage in all rural areas in the country within 30 months.
It also plans to enhance the monsoon season aid (Bantuan Musim Tengkujuh or BMT) for small farmers, rice farmers and fishermen to safeguard income sustainability during the period of unsettled weather.
Barisan also wants to make the Federal Land Development Authority a key conglomerate of the agro-food industry.
Environmental issues have not been left out of the manifesto. Barisan wants to introduce stricter environmental laws with a fine of up to RM10mil for offenders; the money would go into a fund for pollution treatment costs.
The coalition also wants to tighten laws to ensure that mining and quarrying activities are environmentally-friendly and to minimise pollution.
It plans to remove APs for electric vehicles to increase access to affordable ecofriendly vehicles.
It aims to make all public transport services and official government vehicles environmentally-friendly by 2030.
Barisan also wants to revise Malaysia’s international relations and strategies to ensure the country is internationally respected and has its own soft power.
To achieve that, Barisan pledges to continue pursuing active foreign policy and relations based on the principles of neutrality and independence by prioritising the promotion of trade, Islamic interests, Asean unity, human rights, climate change mitigation, peaceful resolution of international conflicts, and human security.
In his closing remarks, Ahmad Zahid said Padu’s initiatives will be carried out by the best talents in Barisan.
“Barisan will form a team with knowledge, experience and capability that is needed in realising Padu,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid urged the public to look into Padu and its initiatives.
“See how (Padu) changes the country and our future.
“I admit this isn’t a perfect plan. But the entire Barisan team and I believe that it has its strengths and advantages,” he added.