(The Star) - FOR an average Malaysian household, it is not easy to get a minimum monthly income of RM4,000. But Pakatan Rakyat has promised that this is within easy reach if the coalition makes it to Putrajaya this coming general election.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng however was evasive when asked to elaborate on the promise during the debate “DAP & MCA: Whose Policies Benefit the Country More?” with MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
The question was posed to Lim by MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung who is one of the three panellists.
Lim, a chartered accountant by training, appeared stunned by the question.
He then went on to his “shame and blame approach” talking about corruption before giving the audience an anti-climactic answer, that Chor and Dr Chua could have read the wrong Buku Jingga.
Buku Jingga contains the many pledges and promises by the Pakatan to the people since they made some inroads in the last general election.
It could not be that Lim had forgotten about the income pledge or lost count with the coalition's countless pledges to win the hearts and minds of the people.
Or perhaps he knew that he could not pull wool over the eyes of the 1,500 audience who also comprised corporate figures and professionals.
Whatever reasons Lim might have had for avoiding to answer the question, his opponent was certainly not ready to let him off.
Dr Chua said the country would be bankrupt within two years of Pakatan's five-year tenure if it implemented all its pledges.
Even if the Pakatan could achieve 100% no-corruption and no-leakages, it might only save RM26bil; while its total pledges amounted to between RM200bil and RM230bil which is the country's total revenue in a year, he said.
Giving the breakdown of the figures, Dr Chua said this comprised between RM50bil and RM100bil for free toll, RM43bil for the abolition of PTPTN loans and RM93bil for the promise of the minimum monthly household income of RM4,000.
Some 3.8 million households would benefit if the Pakatan dream were to come true.
Saying that Pakatan was good at rhetoric and promises but short on delivery, Dr Chua said Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in particular has a lot to answer to the people before asking for their support.
Drawing comparison with Barisan Nasional, Dr Chua said Malaysia, under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's leadership, was on track to become a high-income nation by 2020, adding that the country was the fifth most favoured Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) country in Asia now.
“The economic transformation programme is in progress. We have liberalised the economy, reduced red tape, stepped up manpower training and attracted more FDI.
“All these initiatives are showing results despite the strong economic headwind against Malaysia.
“We have registered respectable economic growth with no unemployment and no mounting debt that requires bailouts as we have witnessed in some European Union nations,” said Dr Chua who is also a member of the National Economic Council chaired by Najib.
The high level council meets weekly.
Expressing hope that the people could see the true colours of the Pakatan, Dr Chua said the people's support for Barisan was important for the promising trend put forth by Najib to continue.
“Everybody will have access to a better quality of life when Malaysia becomes a high-income nation by 2020,” he said.
Besides not being able to put in place a national economic plan for the country, Dr Chua said the Opposition was also out to undermine the programmes, warning that this was done at the expense of national interest, irrespective of which side of the political divide one belongs to.
He described the Opposition's call for change as not just an empty slogan and empty promise but also one that would bring uncertainty to the people.
“Let us reject Ubah (change) and embrace Najib's transformation to a more prosperous, stable, peaceful and high-income nation.
“Do not gamble them away through Ubah,” he said in the closing remarks of the two-hour-long debate.