Man behind PH manifesto answers critics over pending promises

Rais Hussin

PETALING JAYA: PPBM’s Rais Hussin, who chaired Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto committee in the last elections, said the promises in the document were made based on available data.

On criticism that most of the promises remain unfulfilled as the coalition enters its 100th day in power, Rais said PH just found out more facts when they took over the government, and as such should not be faulted.

“What do we do when the real untold data is not the same?” asked Rais.

“We realised that the data is much bigger than the data published for public view, there is a huge difference.”

He said the writers of the manifesto had no access to the “orange, red or green files”, in an apparent reference to files classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Rais said most critics did not understand the contents of the manifesto.

“Many people only see what they want to see, not what they need to see,” he added.

The renewed public attention on PH’s manifesto comes as the coalition enters its 100th day in power, within which time it had pledged to implement 10 promises.

Critics said only three of the 10 promises, related to the goods and services tax, fuel price and the higher education loans, had been fulfilled.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad reportedly said the coalition had over-promised the public because it did not expect to win the polls.

“Actually, we did not expect to win, and we made a thick manifesto with all kinds of promises,” he was quoted by Singapore’s The Straits Times as saying.

Rais said Mahathir had good intentions when he made the statement, saying the coalition needed more time to deliver on its promises.

He said the manifesto was drafted based on public sentiments and research, only to later discover the true picture of the country’s financial health.

He gave as an example the country’s debt situation, which PH claimed stood at RM1 trillion.

“The same thing with the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN),” he said.

Meanwhile, communications expert Syed Arabi Idid said the PH government should not have given a timeframe to fulfil its promises.

He said any new government would find it hard to carry out promises within 100 days.

He also said PH was not alone in “over-promising”.

“All political parties over-promised during the election. They made a lot of promises, including the Barisan Nasional, PAS and PH.”

He said PH should now show their readiness to fulfil the promises.