Dr M had doubts about ‘populist’ manifesto before polls, minister says

PETALING JAYA: A minister said Pakatan Harapan chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s concern over the way the coalition’s manifesto was written in the run-up to the general election last year had been ignored, as voices within the ruling party began questioning the government’s failure to fulfil election pledges.

Entrepreneur Development Minister Redzuan Yusof said Mahathir had said the manifesto was “too populist” in the coalition’s efforts to win votes.

“Tun did ask the team to write from the perspective of governing the nation rather than rhethoric as opposition,” the PPBM Supreme Council member told FMT.

Redzuan was responding to a Johor DAP leader’s call for the prime minister to step down for failing to fulfil election promises.

Boo Cheng Hau, who is currently part of the Johor DAP leadership, had hit out at Mahathir for belittling the pledges in PH’s manifesto.

Boo Cheng Hau

Boo also attacked PPBM for accepting former Umno leaders into its fold, while venting his fury at those who claimed Barisan Nasional would not have been toppled without Mahathir’s leadership.

Redzuan agreed there were weaknesses in the manifesto, especially on the promises that the coalition had yet to fulfil.

The unfulfilled promises include to allow the government’s study loan borrowers to differ repayment if their monthly income is below RM4,000, as well as the abolition of tolls on highways.

PH leaders have said the manifesto was prepared in the absence of details on the country’s financial health under the Barisan Nasional administration.

Redzuan said while there were elements of “populist” pledges to win votes, the more pressing issue for PH was how to work towards creating a conducive environment that would enable the implementation of those promises.

“We should close ranks among PH leaders and examine how we can best work towards the fulfilment of the manifesto,” he said.

Redzuan Yusof

He said some PH politicians still found it difficult to shed their opposition image despite becoming part of the federal government.

On Boo’s concerns over Umno crossovers to PPBM, Redzuan said it was not fair to paint all those linked to the former government with the same brush.

“DAP is inflicting collateral damage by labelling anyone associated to the past government as ‘cronies’ who deserve punishment,” he added.

He said the party should instead concentrate on revitalising economic activities, adding that by giving the public a clearer picture of past weaknesses and present challenges, there would be a greater attempt to understand the government’s failure to fulfil the manifesto.

“Once that is done, people will understand why the manifesto cannot be fulfilled easily.”

“My advice to these detractors is, change your mentality from that of the opposition to the government of the day,” he said.