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BN launches election manifesto minus pomp and ceremony

Barisan Nasional chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi only read the coalition's pledges in a video streamed live on Facebook.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
2 minute read
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Volunteers prepare to put up Barisan Nasional flags ahead of the general election in Hulu Terengganu. Photo: Bernama
Volunteers prepare to put up Barisan Nasional flags ahead of the general election in Hulu Terengganu. Photo: Bernama

Barisan Nasional (BN) launched its election manifesto online today with its chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi reading the coalition's pledges in a video streamed live on Facebook, in a departure from its previous manifesto launch at a ceremony attended by thousands of supporters in Kuala Lumpur four years ago. 

Instead of concentrating on individual states, the BN manifesto comprised 99 items covering general issues such as cash assistance, education, and employment. 

Zahid also spoke of two main matters, namely political stability and prosperity, in an echo of previous campaigns for the Melaka and Johor elections. 

He said basic assistance would be given to households with incomes of less than RM2,208, as well as free early education for children aged six and below. 

"This is a top-up or an additional monthly income to ensure that all households across the country have at least RM2,208 a month, and to ensure that no more households are forced to live below the poverty line," he said. 

"In other words, after this, absolute poverty will be a thing of the past in Malaysia." 

Other matters in the manifesto included amendments to the constitution regarding the right to citizenship of children born overseas to Malaysian women. 

The manifesto also included several policies practised by BN for decades, including the appointment of key positions such as the commissioners of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Election Commission through a special parliamentary committee. 

BN also vowed to abolish all import permits for electric cars, and offered free tertiary education for the B40 group in addition to the provision of learning without textbooks at schools. 

"BN will introduce a schooling system without textbooks which will see learning done with the use of laptops or personal computers," Zahid said. 

He also pledged the enactment of a law on the care of the elderly, and an injection of RM105 million a year for NGOs that operate care centres for the disabled and senior citizens.