Muhyiddin casts doubt on BN manifesto’s feasibility

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BN is giving an assurance of minimum income to the people – this has never been done by any government in the world.

Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today cast doubt on the feasibility of the Barisan Nasional (BN) manifesto, asking whether it was done out of desperation.

The former prime minister said while the pledges were made out of good intention, he was concerned whether it was realistic given the government’s current financial standing.

“I have gone through the manifesto roughly but I noticed that BN is giving an assurance of minimum income to the people. This has never been done by any government in the world.

Luqman Hakim Zubir/NST

“It is quite dangerous, it looks interesting, (but) can (the government) afford it? Let’s say the average monthly income among the people is RM1,500, BN will top-up RM500 monthly for everyone across the country, how is that possible? The intention is noble, but is it feasible?” he told reporters after meeting with the people at a public market in Jitra today.

Muhyiddin expressed his concern over the feasibility of the pledge and whether it would create a huge impact on the government’s financial situation.

“We are aware that we have suffered from the pandemic, the government’s revenue is not improving, business profits are dwindling which means lesser taxes paid to the government.

“If they (BN) want to do that, they need to identify how much budget is required for that purpose and how much money the government has, but we all know that the government’s financial status is not that strong.

“I don’t know, perhaps it was done out of desperation, (BN) just want to offer anything without taking into consideration government financial capabilities.

“We (PN) will not do things that may push the nation to the brink of bankruptcy.

“We will study the (BN’s) manifesto in detail and we will respond in full later so that the people will not be misled by unrealistic pledges,” he said.

Muhyiddin was commenting on the BN manifesto for the 15th General Election (GE1) launched by its chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi yesterday.

The manifesto, themed “PADU” which stands for planning, execute and effort, outlines BN pledges to the people covering 13 aspects from easing the people’s burden, healthcare and good governance.

To eradicate hardcore poverty, BN pledged to provide monthly cash handout under the Assistive Basic Income scheme to all households with monthly income less than RM2,208.

In a related matter, Muhyiddin denied claims by caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri that PN was copied from the 2023 Budget tabled by the government prior to the Parliament dissolution.

“I don’t think that (the allegation) is true, Datuk Seri Ismail shouldn’t be forgetting that PN had the most representatives in his Cabinet.

“That is why we agreed to include some of the elements from the budget and I wish to remind him that whatever presented by the Finance minister was agreed by us.

“Yet we also mentioned that we will amend and improve whenever necessary. We are not copying, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri should not be staking claims that it was his budget.

“I am not saying that it is my budget either, but the budget was formulated by a government that was formed with collaboration of PN and BN. It seems he has forgotten that, but I still remember,” he said. – NST