Barisan Nasional leaders have defended this year’s Merdeka Day ‘Janji Ditepati’ theme, which critics have denounced to be nothing more than a feel-good ploy for the upcoming general election.
These leaders have not denied that the slogan, which literally translates to ‘Promises Fulfilled’, is linked to the elections.
In fact, they see nothing wrong with it, and maintain that the BN-led federal government has kept the country running smoothly.
Umno Youth chief and Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin said that as far as he was concerned, BN had delivered.
“Well, I mean it’s up for the voters to decide. We have a track record, we’ve delivered on our promises…It’s our strong point. We have fulfilled our promises [and] it’s going to be an election on who is more likely to fulfill their promises,” he told FMT.
He took a swipe at Pakatan Rakyat, the foremost critics of the slogan, adding that their promises were nothing short of “outlandish”.
One promise he poked at was the Opposition’s recent claim that they would do away with car excise duties.
“It is easy to make promises, but explain how [they're going to fulfill the promise of] cheaper cars. It’s not a bad idea to do away with excise duties, [but] it’s going to cost the government RM4.6 billion in excise duty revenue.”
“If you promise just that, it’s okay, but they’ve promised to abolish toll [concessions] and the PTPTN (National Higher Education Corporation Fund). The promises start adding up, and they start making up promises they can’t keep,” he said.
Khairy added that he did not think that Pakatan could fulfill all its promises if it came into power, unless it wanted to run Malaysia into bankruptcy.
People are not complaining
Human Resources Minister S Subramaniam also defended the slogan, adding that it was not geared for BN alone, but for all Malaysians.
He was responding to PAS secretary-general Mustapha Ali’s claims that Janji Ditepati was meant for BN supporters.
He added that the BN-led government’s measures, which included the RM500 Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) aid and the RM200 book vouchers for tertiary-level students, were not discriminatory and have helped all.
“How can they say this is only for BN supporters?…these are very glaring examples, even Pakatan members have benefitted [from them],” he said, daring Pakatan Rakyat to tell BN what promises the government has not fulfilled.
“If people are not complaining, why are they (Pakatan Rakyat) complaining? They don’t have to complain, and they don’t represent all the rakyat (people). If they feel threatened and are unhappy, then don’t bother the rakyat.
“We don’t sense that the rakyat are threatened…They’re (Pakatan Rakyat) just the pot calling the kettle black,” he said.
At the same time, Nazri did not think that the general election would be held in September.
However, he dared Pakatan state governments to call for non-concurrent polls in their states, before the federal elections.
“My advice to them is that if they’re so confident of [winning], then call for elections early,” he said.