Malaysia

Pakatan to kickstart polls campaign with manifesto launch

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
February 19, 2013

PETALING JAYA, Feb 19 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will officially kickstart its Election 2013 campaign when it launches its “People’s Manifesto” next week, timed strategically to give voters enough time to digest its offers by polling day, the pact’s leaders said today.

“This is how elections should be. The manifesto is released earlier so voters can assess, analyse and decide by voting day.

“It will be an advantage for PR because by the time elections are held voters have already digested our manifesto,” PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli (picture) told reporters here.

The manifesto, to be officially launched at the federal opposition bloc’s convention this Monday, is a continuation of PR’s past pledges to tackle rice-bowl issues through better management of the economy and ending corruption.

Past electoral pledges include free education, slashing car prices and continued subsidies on basic goods.

The promises are said to be especially popular among the youth, who now make up most of the three million newly registered voters, making this pool of voters the new kingmakers at Election 2013.

“The People’s Manifesto is a culmination of all the policies proposed under the common policy framework, the Buku Jingga and specific programmes announced under the 2012 and 2013 Pakatan Rakyat Budget,” said Rafizi.

The manifesto, however, would not offer details of PR’s policies but will offer a general framework that would comprehensively cover its plans should it assume power.

“This so that it could be easily grasped by the voters,” PAS central working committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said at the same press conference.

Barisan Nasional leaders have in the past blasted PR’s electoral pledges as populist and dismissed them as unrealistic. Some said its fiscal measures would bankrupt the country.

Anticipating a similar attack, Rafizi touted its Election 2013 manifesto as well-researched and thoroughly audited.

“I assure you it is do-able,” the 36-year-old said.

The PKR strategist added that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s delay in calling for polls had given PR the time to improve its campaign papers, expressing confidence that voters would be impressed by the pact’s manifesto.

Observers have highly rated PR’s chances at the upcoming polls which must be held before mid-year.

Parliament will automatically dissolve on April 28 and elections must be held within 60 days.