Malaysia opposition vows reform

2013-02-25 15:01
Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim speaks during the launch of the party's election manifesto at the Shah Alam Convention Centre. (Mohud Rasfan, AFP)

Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim speaks during the launch of the party's election manifesto at the Shah Alam Convention Centre. (Mohud Rasfan, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kuala lumpur - Malaysia's opposition unveiled a sweeping election manifesto on Monday that pledges to end authoritarian rule and corruption while promising higher wages and other populist sweeteners.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim vowed a new era for the racially diverse and economically vibrant country, which has been governed since independence in 1957 by essentially the same coalition.

"This is about the rise of the people. We, as leaders, are only the catalyst," Anwar said in a speech after the manifesto's release.

"We are responsible for returning human dignity and pride to the people."

Parliamentary elections are due by late June but speculation is rife that Prime Minister Najib Razak could call polls for as early as next month.

Ruling party criticised

His ethnic Malay-dominated Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition faces the three-party opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (People's Pact).

The opposition shocked the government by surging to its strongest showing yet in 2008 parliamentary elections. It is widely seen as facing its best chance ever to dethrone the ruling coalition in the coming vote.

Its manifesto seeks to tap public impatience with the ruling bloc, which is criticised for its tough handling of dissent and a litany of corruption scandals, while pledging wide-ranging economic reform.

It vows to wage "war" on corruption, abolish laws that infringe on democratic rights and end what it portrays as political interference in government institutions and academia.

The manifesto also pledges to cut prices of fuel and other key items, raise wages, create a million new jobs, and dismantle monopolies it says benefit government "cronies."

‘Pledges would bankrupt the country’

The alliance is made up of Anwar's multiracial People's Justice Party, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party representing Muslim ethnic Malays, and the Democratic Action Party dominated by ethnic Chinese.

Barisan Nasional is dominated by Malaysia's most powerful party, the United Malays National Organisation.

The ruling bloc is seen having the edge in an expected tight contest thanks to its deep pockets, control of mainstream media and an electoral system the opposition says is rigged.

Barisan Nasional dismissed the opposition platform as "a wish-list of uncosted and empty promises."

"They say they will reduce the price of almost everything while reducing taxes and increasing wages. But they don't say how they will pay for it.

Implementing even half of these pledges would bankrupt the country," a spokesperson said.

"It is a recipe for economic ruin."

But Anwar said Barisan Nasional was driving the country of 29 million people to disaster through "massive corruption, enriching cronies and stealing billions".

Anwar is a former deputy premier who was ousted in 1998 and jailed after a falling out with then-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, pushing him to the opposition camp.

Read more on:    najib razak  |  malaysia

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.