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What happens to manifestos in the event of a coalition govt?

Every pact will have its own set of promises to the people, although no single coalition is expected to win enough support to form the government on its own.

Azzman Abdul Jamal
2 minute read
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A motorcyclist passes a low-cost housing block hung about with party flags. A number of coalitions are vying for the support of voters although analysts say none of them might win enough to form the government on its own.
A motorcyclist passes a low-cost housing block hung about with party flags. A number of coalitions are vying for the support of voters although analysts say none of them might win enough to form the government on its own.

With fewer than 10 days left until Malaysians head to the polls, the major coalitions in the country have announced their manifesto vows to the people and are now working to gain as much support as they can before the clock strikes midnight on Nov 19. 

Pakatan Harapan was the first to announce its manifesto on Nov 2, followed by Perikatan Nasional on Nov 6 and Barisan Nasional a day later. 

But with a number of analysts predicting a coalition government in the absence of a clear majority by any single bloc, one question being raised ahead of election day is how these manifestos will be implemented in the event of such a scenario. 

Analyst Mujibu Abd Muis said that forming a coalition government would not obstruct the implementation of the promises made prior to the election. 

Nevertheless, he said, how the vows are carried out will depend on the decisions made by the coalitions involved. 

"When it comes to manifestos, most parties will offer more or less the same things to the people: promises about the economy, the cost of living, sustainability and institutional reforms," he said. 

"There might be only one or two points of difference, and these would probably centre on implementation and how to get things done."  

Mujibu, of Universiti Teknologi Mara, said each manifesto would have its own advantages and drawbacks, while some might be described as idealistic or populist. 

"Some promises are also just plain funny, like holidays on your birthday," he added. 

Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs meanwhile said that manifestos were merely ammunition for elections, to rally support according to sentiments on current affairs. 

But he also warned that voters were unlikely to decide on a candidate based only on the manifesto of his or her coalition. 

"Many voters look more at party and personality," he said. 

"So the track record of parties in fulfilling their promises once an election is over is not so good."