April 8, 2018
GE-14: Barisan Nasional Election Manifesto Launched–For a Greater Malaysia
by Azril Annuar
Barisan Nasional (BN) has launched its manifesto for the upcoming elections, on the same day that the Parliament was dissolved by its Chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday.
The manifesto themed “With BN for a Greater Malaysia” offered 14 major points, with special focus creating three million jobs and developing affordable homes to help Malaysians tackle rising costs of living, and to uplifting women’s rights and role in economy.
Here are some highlights from the document:
1. Job creation
The coalition has also promised to create another 10,000 jobs within the social entrepreneurship sector through special funds that will be channeled from government linked companies.
In order to create more high-skilled job opportunities, BN also planned to focus on developing more high tech industries while accelerating the downstream oil and gas sector. At the same time more sustainable industrial zones may be created to provide new investment opportunities.
To counter rising debt among Malaysian youths, financial literacy programmes may be expanded and financial literacy modules may be introduced in secondary schools.
2. Affordable homes
Under the 1Negaraku Homes segment, BN planned on ensuring that almost all Malaysians can have the opportunity to become homeowners by creating a special bank to manage affordable housing loans and low-cost homes worth RM300,000 and below.
To ensure quality for affordable homes, BN shall make it compulsory for these homes to have a key performance index, while a sole entity to standardise all initiatives for affordable housing may be created.
The coalition also promised to develop more affordable houses on unused Malay reserve lands, land donated for Islamic purposes, and buildings owned by Baitulmal welfare bodies.
Landlords can also rejoice as tax exemptions may be granted for residential units that are rented out.
3. Uplifting women’s rights and economic activities
BN also wanted to expand women’s role in the economy through various means. Chief among them is establishing Women Economic Council — chaired by the prime minister himself — to focus on women’s economic agenda.
It shall also create a Women Entrepreneur Transformation Centre to expand their business network while easing microcredit loans and loan processes for women entrepreneurs, including the creation of a women’s cooperative.
From a legislative perspective, the coalition seeks to protect women at the workplace by drafting a new Sexual Harassment Act, the creation of a Special Marriage, Hadhanah and Nafkah Court beginning with the Federal Territories and the National Shariah Judiciary Council chaired by the prime minister to discuss and standardise Shariah laws.
4. Sabah and Sarawak
Infrastructure development in Sabah and Sarawak shall receive an immense boost should BN come away victorious with a RM2 billion investment in telecommunications to increase coverage.
Another RM2.3 billion may also be channeled to expand electricity coverage while 12,500 km rural roads may be upgraded.
To ease cost of living there, BN wanted to standardise prices in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak by eliminating price according to territory and implement a “One Nation One Price” scheme.
Security is also a focus as it planned to increase security forces within the East Sabah Security Zone as well as tightening border securities on land.
5. Transportation of the future
Public transportation has taken a priority in BN’s agenda as it planned on introducing an unlimited monthly pass worth RM50 to RM150 called TN50 Public Transportation Pass for students, working youth, senior citizens and the disabled community.
This pass can also be used on the 42-km Klang Valley Double Track which shall be upgraded. The quality of shuttle bus services shall also be upgraded.
Rural transportation shall be receiving a major boost with planned upgrade works on 422km roads in Felda territories, constructing and upgrade 830km of estate roads and upgrade works on 623-km roads along paddy fields to ease the transportation of rice.
6. Improving the digital landscape
To improve Malaysia’s digital landscape, BN planned on among others developing an online application to eradicate corruption within the civil service.
Transparency shall also be strengthened through the introduction of an online public petition coupled with the live telecasts of local council meetings, public viewing of local council audits and scheduled Town Hall meetings between local councils and the public.
Complaints to local authorities can also be lodged through the introduction of the iKepoh app on smart phones, to be investigated by a newly created position of Ombudsman who are also tasked to look into injustices and weaknesses found in ministries, departments and government agencies.
Within the next five years, BN also planned on creating one million digital entrepreneurs to increase the digital economy so it may contribute 25 per cent of the gross domestic product by 2023.
7. Malaysian products
BN has plans to turn the halal economy as a driving force for national economic growth with a RM1 billion allocation into the Halal Development Fund.
Urban poverty is expected to be addressed through the development of business centres, food trucks and urban agriculture.
The creative industry’s potential as a new source of national income shall be realised by expanding the platforms and funds for the industry players.
8. A brand new BR1M
To increase the efficiency of 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M, BN planned to set up a platform bridging all government ministries, departments and agencies to ensure all Bottom-40 registered individuals are not left out.
The children of those currently receiving BR1M, who are in tertiary educational and vocational institutes, shall also receive aid amounting to RM1,500.
BR1M will be improved by ensuring those receiving aid will have immunised their children and must be engaged in vocational and skills training.
9. The people’s wallet
One of the initiatives BN wanted to introduce to assist the public meet the rising cost of living, the coalition has recognised calls from various parties to raise the minimum wage of workers from the current RM1,000 to RM1,500 gradually over the next five years.
For the Felda smallholder, the manifesto aimed to do away with debts owed for replanting efforts, debts accumulated during the replanting process and the purchase of Felda Global Ventures shares, with access to a special grant.
The manifesto also sought to better protect farmers against crop damage resulting from the monsoon season to crops for rubber smallholders and increasing the Rubber Production Incentive.
10. A suitable education for the future
To meet the demands of the industrial revolution, BN planned on training five million students with skills to survive in the Digital Industry Revolution 4.0, while aiming to reduce teachers’ workload by investing in better classroom equipment.
Dormitory capacities for rural students shall also be increased while an allocation of RM12 million would benefit 615,000 students under a special rural education programme.
Islam and the arts shall not be left behind with the establishment of the so-called Quran University and upgrading Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (Aswara) to University of P. Ramlee, respectively.
11. Healthy lifestyle
To ensure that rural folks will have access to medicine, the manifesto promised to increase the services of Klinik 1Malaysia.
Income tax exemption for parental healthcare shall also be increased. BN also plans on improving health and dental care for senior citizens and bedridden patients through house to house visits by medical professionals.
Healthcare management shall also be made easier through an online system.
12. Creating a peaceful 1Nation
This manifesto shall also see more crime deterrant measures by installing more high-definition CCTVs in crime hotspots and increasing the numbers of Rakan Cop and auxiliary police in residential neighbourhoods while also expanding the role of Rela volunteer corps.
In order to face the seasonal floods plaguing the nation, a total of RM8.57 billion shall be allocated on flood preparation and mitigation programmes which can benefit nearly 1.5 million Malaysians.
Another RM100 million may be allocated to install more street lamps in rural areas while a fund worth RM150 million may be made ready for maintenance, repair and replacement of faulty rural streetlamps.
13. National Transformation 2050 (TN50)
The manifesto also promised to ensure that Malaysian youths below 30 are employable within six months through appropriate training.
This include the Apprenticeship Malaysia programme to increase graduate employability in five pioneering industries. A three to six months TVET Bootcamp drafted together with potential employers is also expected to create another 50,000 job opportunities.
Orang Asli youths shall also be trained with the skill set to take advantage of the green industry and environmental care.
14. Universal childcare
A Universal Childcare Policy shall be implemented and a curriculum formulated to train professional caretakers. The training may include children’s nutrition.
Acknowledging the recent report of malnourished children among impoverished families, BN has plans to uplift the nutritional status of these children who are between six months to six years old.
Newborns shall also benefit from an increase in free ADAM50 unit trust to ensure that they have a better future.