Monday, February 25, 2013

Pakatan promises richer Malaysians in election manifesto

Pakatan promises richer Malaysians in election manifesto

UPDATED @ 05:30:31 PM 25-02-2013
By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor
February 25, 2013
Malaysian Insider 
Members of Pakatan Rakyat component parties at the Shah Alam Convention Centre in Shah Alam for the launch of the pact’s election manifesto on February 25, 2013. — Picture by Choo Choy MaySHAH ALAM, Feb 25 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) unveiled its election manifesto today, 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 increase the ceiling for taxable income to those who earn a minimum of RM400,000 annually, instead of the current RM250,000.
PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli (picture), when announcing details in the pact’s “people-friendly” manifesto, said PR’s focus is 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 outline four main methods in PR’s plan to improve Malaysia’s economy, including a target of creating an additional one million 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.
“With the influx of cheap foreign labour flooding the local job market, some two million jobs are held by foreign workers,” the politician said.
He said PR will slowly slash this number by half in stages over its first five-year term in power, effectively creating an additional one million job opportunities for Malaysians.
The PR manifesto also pointed out that there were presently three million unskilled young workers not being utilised to aid the national economy.
“They are left out from development. Once they leave school, they are unable to seek higher education.
“According to Umno, these youths are called ‘Mat Rempits’, the unemployed and other derogatory names,” Rafizi said.
He said the present education should be blamed for this, adding that under a PR rule, one million school leavers without higher education opportunities will receive training via the “People’s Pioneer Scheme”, which combines employment opportunities with periodic certification of skills up to diploma level.
PR’s manifesto also paid special attention to the country’s military, with a promise of a RM500-million allocation to the Military Veterans’ Small Entrepreneur Fund to assist the participation of ex-soldiers in economic activities.
 The fund will also be responsible for training and mentoring veterans venturing into business.
The government’s contribution to the Armed Forces Fund board (LTAT) will also be hiked from 15 per cent to 20 per cent, to secure the savings of the country’s military, while an additional contribution of five per cent will be administered in a special fund to be used for direct assistance to pensionable and non-pensionable soldiers.
In its bid to ensure a sustainable economy, PR repeated its pledge to halt operations of the Lynas rare earth plant in Kuantan, a key campaign issue for the pact in the coming polls.
“Environmental sustainability is a hallmark of PR’s economic policy.
“Before any project is approved, the people’s well-being will be emphasised,” the manifesto booklet said.
Further to this, PR also pledged to review the implementation phases of Petronas’s multibillion ringgit petrochemical project RAPID in Pengerang, Johor, citing environmental concerns as its reason.
On tax adjustments, Rafizi announced that the income band for personal tax purposes will be revamped to reflect the current economic status of the people.
“The income band will be broadened so that the 26 per cent tax rate will be payable for taxable income exceeding RM400,000 as compared to RM250,000,” he said.

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