Barisan Nasional (BN) offered its most ambitious election manifesto tonight, promising all Malaysian households a minimum monthly income of RM2,208 if the coalition were to win the 15th general election.
Among the 99 offerings are:
- RM2,208 household basic income to eradicate absolute poverty
- free national early care and pre-school
- Textbook-Free Schooling System – using laptops
- free higher education for B40 group
- Amendment of the Federal Constitution regarding overseas-born children
- Abolishment of APs for all types of electric cars
- Separation of roles and functions of AG and Public Prosecutor
- Enactment of Political Funding Act
- Enactment of Elderly Care Act
Among other offers in its manifesto themed PADU (the Malay initials for planning, welfare and effort), the ruling coalition touted a revolutionary “Assistive Basic Income”, in which the government would automatically supplement all household incomes that fell below the pledged minimum.
“It is a ‘top up’ or additional monthly income to ensure that all households across the country have at least RM2208 per month,” BN chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.
“This scheme will appear as the most fair, reasonable and strategic way. Not only to deal with the very burdensome cost of living. But to ensure that no more households are forced to live below the poverty line. Or in other words, after this, the incidence of absolute poverty will only remain history in Malaysia,” he said at the launch of BN manifesto done online tonight.
Among other living cost issues offered in the altogether 99 offerings, BN also highlighted a two percent income tax deduction for those who have an income in the M40 group who are included in the taxpayer group between RM50 thousand to RM100 thousand, to increase their purchasing power and reduce their financial burden.
Ahmad Zahid also said BN will ensure housewives returning to the workforce after a career break will have five years of zero percent income tax as announced in the initial budget by prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob that was tabled before the parliament dissolution.
Also focusing on education, BN offers free national early care and a pre-school education system for all children aged six years old and below.
“This radical system change will not only reduce most of the cost of child care and education throughout the country, but is proof of the country’s commitment and huge investment in ensuring care and early education is done in the best possible way,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid added that BN will introduce a Textbook-Free Schooling System that will see learning taking place using laptops.
To that end, he said BN’ will be giving free laptops to all B40 students and ensuring 100 percent 5G Internet coverage in all schools within 18 months.
“In addition to free higher education for all individuals from the B40 group, public universities or Public Institutions of Higher Education (IPTA) in the country will offer a flexible study system.
“That is 50 percent of studies on campus, and another 50 percent online or distance, which will reduce the cost of studies by half,” he said, adding that the BN government will also make it mandatory for student interning to receive payment for their internships.
Ahmad Zahid also said that BN will make the national school a field to foster harmony and instil the value of appreciating each other by also teaching other basic communication languages such as Mandarin, Tamil, Iban, Kadazan, Dusun and other ethnic languages in addition of Malay and English.
He further said that BN will make school a place where we cultivate the best minds through teaching new skills such as coding and creativity.
Promoting diversity, Ahmad Zahid said BN is ready to amend the Federal Constitution regarding the citizenship rights of children born abroad by Malaysian women married to foreign nationals.
He added that BN also wants to ensure that employers hire employees from various races, genders and backgrounds by offering tax incentives to companies that have pluralism at the management level.
He also offers to tackle the issue of sexual harassment, wage inequality, remuneration and treatment due to gender differences to be completely eliminated by examining the appropriateness of establishing a Gender Equality Tribunal and establishing an Anti-Sexual Harassment Tribunal.
Taking a direct jibe at Pakatan Harapan, Ahmad Zahid also announced that BN is determined to ensure that political practices in this country are brought to life only in a responsible and transparent manner through the enactment of the Political Funding Act.
“At the same time, the appointment of key national positions such as MACC Chief Commissioner and EC Chairman will be screened by a special parliamentary committee.
“Through their representatives in Parliament, the people will be given a mandate to scrutinise and be involved in the screening of appointments to the most important public positions in the country,” he said.
Lastly, Ahmad Zahid said BN will abolish all import permits or APs for all types of electric cars to ensure wider access to affordable eco-friendly cars and to ensure 60 percent of forest coverage in Malaysian states to promote green energy and fight climate change
“To implement it, BN must not only be strong but we have to be a stable government,” he said.