Monday, April 15, 2013

Pakatan promises a richer Perak at manifesto launch

Pakatan promises a richer Perak at manifesto launch

UPDATED @ 02:57:49 PM 15-04-2013
BY CLARA CHOOI
ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
April 15, 2013
Malaysian Insider 
IPOH, April 15 — Perak Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pitched land tax reforms and absolute transparency in government processes in its election manifesto today, dangling its dream of restoring the silver state’s economic status to back when it had a booming tin mining industry.

Taking a leaf from its Penang counterparts, the pact also promised to restore local government elections, eradicate hardcore poverty and ensure all state administrators publicly declare their assets should it capture Perak in Election 2013.

Former Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin told the manifesto launch here that PR leaders were more than ready to face down their political foes in Barisan Nasional (BN) this May 5, inspired by a lingering anger at PR’s fall in the 2009 power grab.

“Today, we are more than ready than we were in 2008 to rule the state.
“We have long missed, and dreamt of the day when Perak is restored again as one of the richest states in the country,” Nizar (picture) said in his speech at the launch this morning.

“We were among the richest states. But now, we are the third poorest.
“How did this happen? Because for over 55 years, we allowed a government that was not run on justice and fairness,” he said.

Opposition parties DAP, PAS and PKR soared to a surprise victory in Perak in Election 2008 when they won 31 seats to Barisan Nasional’s (BN) 28 in the 59-seat assembly.

But PR’s rule was rudely cut short in February 2009 by a power putsch that was sparked by the defections of three PR assemblymen.

Nizar, who was selected from a pool of unprepared candidates to be Perak’s 10th mentri besar at the time, said today that the “power grab” had not only emboldened the state’s electorate but also inspired Malaysians nationwide to boot BN from its Putrajaya perch in the coming May 5 contest.

Citing Perak PR’s manifesto, the first-term elected representative said a RM40 million allocation will be set aside to help the state’s poor by ensuring that every individual’s income is increased to a minimum of RM760 monthly.

“We want to abolish hardcore poverty,” he said, after alleging that under BN’s rule over the past four years, a total of 112,546 acres of land were given to “BN cronies”.

In the manifesto, PR also promised RM250,000 in annual allocations to every state assemblymen, regardless their political leaning, for the purpose of funding micro projects in their respective constituencies.
The manifesto also pledged RM2 million allocated to the state’s 8,000-strong civil service for its “Integrity Awards” initiative that PR hopes will help weed out corruption.

To boost state revenue, PR promised to restructure all policies on land tax, forest reserves and natural resources to improve the acquisition efficiency of taxes and state resources.

The pact said the business scope of government contracts and procurement will be widened and all projects awarded through open tender to ensure that only the most qualified gets the job.

Underperforming government agencies and government-linked companies (GLCs) will also be restructured, according to the manifesto, for the purpose of plugging leakages and increasing revenue.

A Perakians’ legacy fund will be established with a start-up principal of RM10 million, with five per cent of all revenue generated from mining and the acquisition of natural resources to be contributed to the fund.
To boost investments, Perak PR also promises land leases of up to 99 years for investments in high-technology industries, as well as incentives in the form of 50 per cent discounts on land premiums for projects worth over RM500 million and/or that offer 700 jobs and above.

Perak PR also pledged not to increase the rates of land and household taxes as well as water between 2014 and 2018 should it come to power, adding that the first 20 cubic metres of water used by households earning incomes below RM1,000 will be given free.

To solve housing woes, the pact promised 30,000 new affordable houses in newly opened planned villages for the next five years until 2018.

Orang Asli land will be gazetted, while freehold titles will be offered to qualified families in the indigenous community, PR pledged.

A sum of RM1,000 will be given as “funeral assistance funds” to the next-of-kin of deceased government employees, GLC employees and senior citizens aged 65 and above, it added in the manifesto.

Other promises in the manifesto include to look into combating crime by setting up CCTVs in all high-risk crime areas, committing to a minimum wage of RM1,000 to all employees in the state government and GLCs, continuing the RM2,000 scholarship assistance to all qualified students studying for their first undergraduate degrees, and providing land for places of worship and cemeteries for all religions, in accordance with needs, population size and locational suitability.

“This is a contestation of ideas. And we in PR offer our commitment not to embrace the culture of dirty politicking in our campaign.

“We ask the people to judge us based on our ideas,” said Perak PR manifesto committee chairman Dr Khairuddin Abdul Malek at the launch.

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