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Anwar Ibrahim

Lim Guan Eng

Thousands turned up last night at the Penang Stadium in mainland Batu Kawan for Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) rally to protest last weekend’s election results. Most of them, dressed in black, had to park their cars from as far as the Bukit Tambun toll plaza six kilometres away due to the traffic congestion. PKR de facto chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim arrived in the stadium before 8.30pm to avoid the gridlock around the stadium. At 9pm, the 40,000 capacity stadium was half full with most of the crowd on the football pitch while others were stuck in a massive gridlock outside the stadium. Many of them inside the stadium were young and waved giant flags belonging to the three PR parties, PAS, PKR and DAP. Among those who spoke at the rally were PAS deputy president Mohamed Sabu and DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Mohamed, better known as Mat Sabu, got the crowd cheering when he asked them to laugh and boo the Election Commission (EC) for their “missteps” in using indelible ink that could be washed off and what he termed irregularities in the voting process. In a fiery speech, Anwar dubbed the May 5 general elections as “the mother of all frauds”, a line he borrowed from National Laureate poet Datuk A. Samad Said. He also blasted Umno and its newspaper for blaming Barisan Nasional’s (BN) lower win on the “Chinese tsunami” and their greed for power. “What do the Chinese, Malay, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans and the rest of us want?” he asked, before replyng, “We want free and fair elections”, a reference to Umno’s Utusan Malaysia daily which asked in banner headlines “What else do the Chinese want?”. “The EC were cheats. The last (election)... is the mother of all frauds,” he told the crowd. “In these elections, we demand answers, and we demand the answers now,” Anwar added. PR parties have complained about irregular voting patterns, suspicious handling of ballot boxes and other issues with both DAP and PAS mulling election petitions to contest the results.

Some 50,000, mostly dressed in black, have packed the Stadium MBPJ while thousands others are trying to get in for a rally for free and fair elections organised by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Stadium MBPJ in Kelana Jaya near here tonight. The evening shower caused traffic congestion but most of the crowd dropped off at the Kelana Jaya LRT station and walked to the stadium near the Subang Airport road. Among those speaking at the rally are opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang. Anwar arrived after 10pm on a scooter and was greeted with loud roars that echoed through the stadium by the crowd who chanted "Kami Anak Malaysia". Thousands dressed in black have packed the stands and also the football pitch in the stadium. "This is the beginning of a battle between the rakyat and an illegitimate, corrupt, and arrogant government," the PKR de facto leader told the crowd. Traffic remains backed up around Kelana Jaya right up to the NPE toll plaza near Sunway. Earlier, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli told the 50,000-odd crowd inside the stadium, "I am Malay, but I support Pakatan Rakyat."

Social media research group estimated the crowd size in and around the stadium at between 64,000 and 69,000, given that the stadium capacity is about 25,000. There has been no police presence around the stadium until now. In Marang, Terengganu, thousands are crowding PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang's Masjid Rusila for another rally, reports PAS news portal Harakahdaily. Among those there are ex-Umno Selangor mentri besar Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, whose defection to PAS had been one of the surprises in Election 2013. In Singapore, the Singapore Straits Times reported tonight that a group of over 200 Malaysians gathered at the Merlion Park to protest against what they claimed were rigged elections over the weekend.
Dressed mostly in black, they were holding placards, with phrases such as "We Want Bersih (clean)" and "No To Racism". One, translated from Mandarin, read: "We Are One Family". The crowd appeared to be peaceful, with chants erupting occasionally.

Participants told The Straits Times that the message for the gathering was spread spontaneously on Wednesday through social media. Many of them were not aware who started the protest, but said they received calls or messages from their friends, and decided to be a part of the event. Polls watchdog Bersih co-chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said also attended the mass rally. Samad, who was dressed in black, recited a poem titled “Tipu segala tipu” (The lie of all lies) that drew cries of “Ubah!” (Change) from the crowd. Ambiga did not give a speech but rallied the crowd to shout, “Long live Bersih. Long live the rakyat. We will clean up!” Thousands of people cried out, “Tipu SPR!” (SPR are liars), referring to the Election Commission (EC) by its Malay acronym, as PR leaders railed against widespread reports of electoral fraud in Election 2013. Bersih has refused to recognise the BN government until it verified reports of vote-rigging in the country’s hottest election in history.

Tanjung Malim


Malim Nawar

Malaysians will go to the polls on May 5 in what is predicted to be a closely fought election, with 55 years of one-party government being challenged by Anwar Ibrahim, leader of the People’s Justice Party and head of the opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat. Campaigning for the ideals of empowerment, justice and equity, the coalition is calling for an end to corruption and the reform of civil and democratic institutions. Anwar Ibrahim emphasises social justice, poverty eradication, education and civil society and he has been a powerful symbol of integrity in the shadowy world of Malaysian politics for many years.

He was a former deputy prime minister in Malaysia, holding various cabinet positions in agriculture, commerce, education and finance before becoming right hand man to former prime minister Mahathir. While finance minister he was recognised as an “Asian tiger” and Newsweek named him its 1998 “Asian of the Year” for his role in rescuing Malaysia from the Asian financial crisis. When establishing a reform movement, he courageously accused the prime minister of corruption, which led to his temporary downfall and six years in jail on trumped-up charges.

Emerging from the politically motivated accusations in 2004, he gained a notable result in the 2008 elections, winning one-third of the seats and five states from the incumbent National Front party. Attempts to smear his reputation again failed when accusations were finally dismissed last year for lack of evidence. He is regarded as Malaysia’s best hope against an autocratic and corrupt government which many think have ruled Malaysia for far too long. The incumbents are using the usual tactics such as tampering with the electoral rolls and using huge amounts of public money to campaign against the opposition. At speeches and rallies Anwar Ibrahim is compelling, charismatic and persuasive as he remains steadfast in his trust in true democracy and his faith in the wisdom of the people.

His followers are joining him in their hundreds of thousands in the call for electoral reform and an end to corruption scandals, crime and police brutality. Anwar knows well that he is up against a well-oiled propaganda machine that calls itself “Moderate Malaysia” and controls the media’s often empty vote-getting slogans which distort the meaning of freedom, democracy and human rights. His own coalition is a triumph of bringing to consensus the disparate elements of his People’s Justice Party, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic party and the ethnic Chinese Democratic Action party. He has managed to bring them together into a broader liberal community through “active and vibrant intellectual discourse,” acknowledging extremists with respect and tolerance.

The objective is a multi-party democracy where leading parties will change every few years as a way of being accountable to the people, putting an end to the single party domination of Malaysian politics. The twin issues of corruption and living costs are of major concern to voters. Anwar’s People’s Alliance has established a good track record in the states it currently governs, and he told reporters on April 4 that he was “cautiously optimistic” about winning a majority in parliament. The people of Malaysia have become more aware of national issues and their right to criticise, question and condemn their current rulers whose excesses and extravagances have no limits.

In the culture of patronage and political largesse, huge sums of public money have been squandered in failed economic ventures and speculative projects, which certainly have not benefitted Malaysians. Education, housing and health services are all in need of upgrading and investment and the country suffers from stagnant wages and a huge and growing national debt, as the government borrows to maintain handouts to retain political power. It is a tragic state for a Muslim country to be in, as it has moved far from the tenets of Islam which include moderation, piety, justice and fairness to all. The Pakatan Rakyat offers the best hope of reform and change and the fact that the coalition contains diverse interests and competing ideologies can be seen as one of its strengths. By bringing together different ethnic and religious groups the PR coalition is more representative of a truly democratic Malaysia, more concerned for the good of the country and all its people than the nationalist Malay group represented by the ruling Barisan Nasional.

If the nation is to eradicate poverty which is one of the often repeated campaign promises of the current government, then mismanagement, corruption and abuse of power will have to be replaced with a moral government with the interests of the people at heart. Anwar Ibrahim has an opportunity on May 5 to save his country from the one-party rule that threatens to hold back the country with stagnating ideas and economics; hopefully the people of Malaysia will recognise the moment for its historical significance and give Anwar Ibrahim the chance to lead his country to a renaissance of integrity, prosperity and true



While DAP rallies here are drawing huge crowds, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was pitching to smaller groups in the state’s Malay heartland in a tight race for every vote for the May 5 general election. On the stump last night, the PKR de facto leader reminded the Malays that the community remained the poorest in the country despite Umno’s purported pro-Malay politics. “In the name of the Malays, they said, yet we remain the poorest while the nation’s wealth is concentrated in a few Malay Umno elites,” he told a crowd of 150 in Chembong, a Malay majority state seat south of here. Anwar’s presence in semi-urban Rembau, a known Barisan Nasional (BN) fortress that houses the state’s Umno caretaker mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Mohamad Hassan, also drew enthusiastic response from a predominantly Malay crowd of about 2,000 strong.

Another testimony to the growing Malay support for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in BN fortress state of Negri Sembilan is the huge Malay presence at a rally in Sikamat here where Anwar took the stage before an audience of 10,000. “This is where Malaysians rise to fight for what is theirs. This is the people’s awakening,” the opposition leader told the energetic crowd. The state’s PR leaders believe the federal opposition bloc has secured virtually most of the Chinese votes judging from the overwhelming attendance of its nightly rallies in predominantly Chinese and urban locations like Seremban and Rasah. Just a few days ago, a rally held in Rasah reportedly attracted close to 15,000 people while smaller rallies recorded turnouts of thousands in average.

Negri Sembilan PR chief Anthony Loke said the pact’s main focus is now on bagging at least 45 per cent of the state’s Malay votes while aiming to get at least 25 per cent of the community’s support in Umno’s bastions. The DAP central executive committee member added that the response it has received nine days into campaigning has led him to believe that the small Malay vote swing needed for an opposition win in key mixed semi-urban seats are achievable. “We have a real fighting chance to form the new government. The mood for change has intensified now,” he told The Malaysian Insider after taking the stump in Sikamat here last night. PR won 15 of the 36 state seats in Election 2008. It needs just four more to form the new government and is looking to zero in on Jeram Padang, Chennah, Pilah and Kelawang.

Among the major reasons said to be behind Umno’s reversed fortunes is infighting that has paralysed its polls machinery in key seats. Another key factor is the effectiveness of PR’s campaign in playing up issues like corruption and power abuse by the BN government, an Umno source told The Malaysian Insider. “They are playing up national issues. It’s no longer the candidates running down on other candidates. It’s all national issues and it’s working,” said an Umno leader. A ground survey on the reception to the issues resounded well with rural Malay voters judging from Anwar’s campaign trail deep in Negri Sembilan’s vast interiors here yesterday. Malaysia’s southern states have not seen any opposition win since Independence but analyst note that PR is now making inroads and is poised to wrest several more federal seats from Johor, Negri Sembilan and Malacca in this election.

It will not only be the headliners like Lim Kit Siang or Zulkifli Noordin in the spotlight for the next 15 days as we get into the official campaign period for Election 2013. A quick glance at the candidates for several seats around the country is enough to give even the most casual political observer plenty to think and get excited about. In Putrajaya, we have Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor a party veteran and current party secretary-general  facing off with PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa.

Husam’s decision to stand in Putrajaya is seen as a bold move, and signals the first direct incursion into the heart of the current administration. The Kelantan man is hoping to appeal to the substantial number of Kelantan-born in the civil service who stay in Putrajaya. It will be interesting to see if his brand of politics appeals to the people there. In Shah Alam, we have a straight fight between former PKR man Datuk Zulkifli Noordin running under the Friends of BN ticket with long-time rival and incumbent Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad of PAS. The controversial Zulkifli Noordin who made headlines recently with apparent slurs against Hindus and Indians and know for his ultra Islamist stance may just be able to wrest the seat from Khalid.

This will be a battle for the souls; ironically, Zul Noordin will be the one taking on the role of a Muslim hardliner while Khalid, who is from an Islamist party, is seen to be a centrist who openly engages with Malaysians of other faiths. In Election 2008, Khalid even spoke to Catholics in their church in Shah Alam. He is popular with non-Muslims in his constituency, but this has been turned into a negative in recent days as the Muslims fear he is too inclusive. Over at Pandan, the popular incumbent MP, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, is not running against PKR’s Rafizi Ramli but the fight will still be interesting for several reasons.

A day before nomination, BN’s candidate, lawyer Gary Lim, was hit by professional misconduct and fraud allegations. He is likely to face a disciplinary hearing of the Malaysian Bar to answer to these allegations. Rafizi, who is PKR’s strategy director, has made a name for himself with a series of exposés like the high-profile National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal is definitely the front runner in this race though. The third candidate in the race for Pandan is Ong’s former political secretary, Allan Tan, and it is thought he may take away some votes for Rafizi and Lim as some people see him as Ong’s proxy. By far, the most-publicised race in the Klang Valley will be that in Lembah Pantai. Incumbent MP Nurul Izzah Anwar is Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s daughter and many in Barisan Nasional see her as the successor to the PKR throne.

As such, no expense has been spared to bring her down. A look at the number of Barisan Nasional flags that have aggressively sprouted up all over the constituency gives credence to this claim. BN’s Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, who is also interim Federal Territory minister, seems equal to the task. This will be an interesting battle to watch as the constituency is divided into the affluent and middle-class Bangsar and the more working-class Pantai Dalam. Will Nurul Izzah be able to hold on to the seat she so narrowly won with 2,895 votes in 2008? All eyes will be on her and Raja Nong Chik the next 15 days. Across the country in Raub is blogger extraordinaire Sakmongkol AK47, whose real name is Datuk Mohamed Ariff Sabri Aziz, from the DAP versus MCA’s Datuk Hoy Khai Mun. Known for his pithy and highly-critical blog posts against Barisan Nasional, the former Umno man and once political aide to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, may just win over the Chinese voters who make up 44 per cent of the constituency’s electorate and help burnish DAP’s multi-racial credentials. But the biggest fight in GE13 is probably the one in Gelang Patah, Johor. It will see DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang go against caretaker Johor mentri besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.

Battle of the giants? It is no exaggeration to think of the fight as such. After all, BN’s Ghani is a four-term mentri besar who brought in high-profile developments like Iskandar to the state. Kit Siang, of course, is so synonymous with DAP that people think of him as the party head even though it is his son, Lim Guan Eng, who is the secretary-general of the party. Kit Siang is the heart of the party and he leads this foray into Johor which is often described as Umno’s fort. Will GE13, already touted as the mother of all elections, live up to its billing? From the looks of these seats and who is fighting who, the answer is already a resounding yes.

Ceramah at Kg Kerinchi

Anwar Ibrahim

Nurul Izzah


PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar against Senator Raja Datuk Nong Chik Zainal. The first-term PR MP is facing another tough battle after a surprise and close win in Election 2008 against Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil. This time she faces Raja Nong Chik (picture) who is the caretaker Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister. He has poured his energy into many state-sanctioned projects in the sprawling constituency that counts upscale Bukit Pantai and Bangsar suburbs to the squatter settlements of Kampung Pantai Dalam and Bukit Kerinchi as its neighbourhoods. Lembah Pantai has 72,553 voters, comprising 55 per cent Malays, 23 per cent Chinese and 20 per cent Indians.

KUBANG SEMANG, April 5 ― PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will defend his seat in Permatang Pauh and not go to Tambun, Perak. The PKR de-facto leader announced his decision at a ceramah at Taman Pauh here amidst cheering from the crowd. “While my intention was to help the campaign in Perak and if I look at it rationally and strategically, it would have to be Tambun but because of the heart, soul, relationship and spirit of Permatang Pauh in their support for me, I have to defend my seat,” he said. Anwar had earlier said he will decide between contesting in Tambun and his home ground.

He had also announced in an earlier event here that if he doesn’t contest in Tambun, Siti Aishah Shaik Ismail will contest in that seat. Siti Aishah is the PKR wanita youth chief. The incumbent Tambun MP is Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, who is also Finance Minister II. “I have discussed this with other PKR leaders and we felt that by going to Tambun, it would cause a jump in support for us and we could even win a few seats there,” he said. However, Anwar said he had to consider the Permatang Pauh factor. “My relationship with Permatang Pauh is not about elections or about them supporting me because I’m in government or in the Opposition but because they are family,” he said.

He said he had never forgotten the support he and his wife, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, had always received from the people of Permatang Pauh, even when he was in jail. “I will continue to defend this seat but I apologise as I will be going nationwide to campaign so I will only be here once in a while,” he said to a crowd of about 2,000 people at a football field in the middle of a residential area. He called on his Permatang Pauh supporters to help him defend his “fort” while he was away helping the campaign in other states. Anwar received a resounding yes, cheers and applause.

He admitted that Wan Azizah had advised him against going to Tambun. “When I was at the Sama Gagah Mosque just now, someone came up to ask me where I plan to go in Perak so I told him Tambun,” he shared during the ceramah. “Then he came back to me and asked me, how could the next Prime Minister be from Tambun.” Wan Azizah had held the Permatang Pauh seat for two terms, and gave up the seat to Anwar in 2008. Anwar won the seat in the by-election in August 2008, after Wan Azizah resigned, defeating Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah by a majority of 16,210 votes.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — The Dewan Rakyat has been dissolved, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced during a live television broadcast today, paving the way for the 13th general election. The prime minister said he met with the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong this morning and received His Majesty’s consent to dissolve Parliament. It is understood that 11 state assemblies will also be dissolved today and tomorrow to facilitate the general election. The Negri Sembilan state assembly was dissolved automatically on March 27 while Sarawak had its state election in April 2012.

The last general election was on March 8, 2008 but Najib, who took office exactly four years ago today, has taken his time to dissolve Parliament. “If I was the prime minister, I would have called for elections last year. All this waiting... one month, two months, three months... it just never stops,” Najib’s mentor and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told a news conference on March 27. Najib is the longest-serving prime minister without a personal mandate, eclipsing his father Tun Abdul Razak Hussein who served as Malaysia’s second PM from September 22, 1970 to Election Day on August 24, 1974.

The EC will meet in the next few days to set the dates for nominations and polling that must he held within 60 days of the commission receiving the notices of dissolution from the state legislative assemblies that have yet to be dissolved. Politicians from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) are fighting for 222 parliamentary seats and 505 state seats in Election 2013, which The Malaysian Insider understands will be held within the month. A source had disclosed that there will be a greater number of new faces although Najib, who is also BN chairman, is expected to retain some veterans for continuity, especially those who scored well in the government annual report card he had announced on March 19.

The 59-year-old whose personal approval rating has remained above 65 per cent, has been on a whirlwind circuit around the country in the past few months to drum up support for his BN coalition in the run-up to election. He has trumpeted his government’s transformative achievements over the past three years and doled out money to diverse demographic groups in various cash schemes to aid some five million families feeling the global economic pinch. The move has been criticised as an attempt to sway voters for the upcoming general election, including the controversial remark by Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat who likened it to feeding livestock to garner support.

Analysts have pointed out that the initiatives under the Economic Transformation Programme and Government Transformation Programme contributed to Malaysia’s economic growth rate of 6.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year versus the same period in 2011. Some 13.3 million voters, including 3,000-odd abroad, have registered to vote in what is set to be the country’s most-anticipated and closely-fought general elections. BN officials privately predict that the ruling coalition could regain its two-thirds supermajority by winning as many as 160 seats although the PR pact led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is also confident of a victory. Independent surveys show that BN could scrape through with 117 federal seats to PR’s 105.

part 1

part 2

Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda allegedly regretted refusing paying slain Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu a US$500,000 (RM1.5 million) commission purportedly owed her for translation services in a government submarine deal, P. Balasubramaniam was reported telling a packed town hall here last night. The former private investigator, hired by Abdul Razak to keep an eye on his one-time mistress, related the analyst saying so on November 7, 2006 while in a lift where the latter’s lawyer was also present, just half an hour before his arrest for abetting in the Mongolian’s gruesome murder. “Boss, look here. What was my advice to you? Police report. You should have done the police report,”

Balasubramaniam (picture) was quoted as saying last night by news portal Malaysiakini, in reply to Abdul Razak’s remark. The ex-investigator, who returned home last Sunday after nearly five years in exile, was reported as giving a detailed recollection of the highly controversial events surrounding his two conflicting sworn statements over Altantuya’s 2006 murder and subsequent marathon trial that ended in Abdul Razak’s acquittal and two elite policemen being sentenced to the gallows. Rumours of Abdul Razak’s imminent arrest had been circulating widely then, and according to Balasubramaniam, the analyst was busy with legal preparations should he be charged. The ex-detective, popularly known as PI Bala who became famous following his explosive revelations on the 2006 murder, had decided to come out of hiding and return to participate in opposition Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) campaign ahead of Election 2013, his lawyer Americk Sidhu Singh had told The Malaysian Insider last week.

Balasubramanim had first entered the public spotlight in 2008 for claims he made against top federal government personalities in his first statutory declaration (SD) on Altantuya’s brutal murder. But when Balasubramaniam retracted the SD the following day and signed a new one where the names of these personalities were omitted, he found himself in an even deeper tangle, forcing him to flee the country. A year later, in 2009, he reappeared in the limelight when he claimed that the second SD had been signed under duress and without his knowledge of its contents. Balasubramaniam’s name again earned media attention recently following the emergence of Deepak Jaikishan, the controversial carpet dealer with close links to several prominent government and corporate personalities and who was purportedly involved in the second SD.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim offered Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) promise today that the pact’s dream of wresting federal power is not to take revenge but to fulfil the people’s wish for a fair and effective government. The opposition leader said should PR capture Putrajaya in Election 2013, its plan was not to imprison or unfairly punish its political foes in Barisan Nasional (BN). Doing so, Anwar (picture) told the audience at PR’s fourth national convention and election manifesto launch here, would neither ensure the country stays peaceful nor lead the nation to a bright future. “This is important because many have asked... And we repeat — we want to take power not to take revenge or put our enemies in prison. “We must be strong on this... We want to take power to fulfil the programmes of the people’s agenda and not to take revenge,” he said.

“But what we do need to do... is to take back monies that have been stolen,” he added to loud cheers from the audience at the Shah Alam Convention Centre (SACC) here. Anwar outlined several issues that the pact highlighted in its election manifesto, including abolishing the present system of granting taxi permits to selected companies, which purportedly profit from the drivers’ labour. He singled out the RM250-million National Feedlot Centre (NFC) cattle farming scandal, saying PR would dissect and examine details in such projects to ensure that the monies are recovered and returned to taxpayers.

“This is the kind of action we plan on taking, taking into consideration the due process and rule of law,” he said. Anwar also pledged to only cancel or review deals where cheating is found, and will not compromise on any unfair allocations that are detrimental to genuine business owners or the general taxpayer. “Lynas compromises on the people’s safety... we will take action. Independent power producer (IPP) deals which contribute to high electricity rates, these need to be reviewed,” he said. Earlier today, PR unveiled its election manifesto, promising a complete revamp of the country’s economic approach with the aim to ensure every Malaysian household draws a minimum monthly income of RM4,000 by the end of its first term.

The pact also enforced its pledge to drop fuel prices and electricity tariffs, scrap toll payments, reduce car prices, free education, as well as adjust the maximum tax band to apply to incomes of RM400,000 or more annually, instead of the current RM250,000. PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli, when announcing details in the pact’s “people-friendly” manifesto, said PR’s focus was on raising incomes by creating better and more job opportunities with higher salaries. “We want to repair and reduce income disparities here, unlike under Umno-Barisan Nasional’s (BN), where the poor only becomes poorer and the rich, richer.

“Because their economic approach is race-based, with their 30 per cent Bumiputera equity target, while ours is on improving incomes regardless of race,” he said. Rafizi also outlined four main methods in PR’s plan to improve Malaysia’s economy, including the targeted creation of one million additional jobs by reducing dependence on foreign labour in stages, creating a smart economy based on principles of justice, reviewing public concessions and ending government monopolies, and reforming the education system.

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