The Economist Intelligence Unit predicts Barisan Nasional as likely winners because of Pakatan Rakyat's costly promises.
Lisa J. Ariffin, FMT
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has predicted Barisan Nasional (BN) as the likely winner in the upcoming general election.
However, analysts predict the ruling coalition will probably fail to attain the two-thirds parliamentary majority to make constitutional changes unchallenged.
The Economist Intelligence Unit is part of London’s Economist, a weekly global news magazine.
In a recent report on their website, EIU claims Pakatan Rakyat (PR) have been making “costly promises” to gain power.
However, the opposition alliance’s efforts have attracted less attention than the generosity of BN, which had spent lavishly in two consecutive budgets to please voters.
“In addition, the government is offering many local incentives to ensure the return of BN representatives at federal and state level,” it said, elaborating that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak recently offered Penang’s Pakatan-controlled state assembly 20,000 affordable houses and a monorail to ease traffic congestion.
“The next election is likely to be a tight race, but we do not expect the outcome to lead to a dramatic improvement in the public finances,” it added.
The EIU also said it is “clearly not feasible” for Pakatan to implement all of its campaign promises in one go.
“For example, providing free secondary education would cost the government RM43 billion, while abolishing car duty would cut tax revenue by RM4.6 billion a year,” it explained.
It also pointed out that Pakatan had been accused of breaking its promises that include financial assistance for pre-school education, and for university students, senior citizens and the disabled; free healthcare for those over 65; lower property taxes; and assistance for home buyers.
Citing Malaysia’s richest state Selangor as an example, the report quotes BN as claiming Pakatan had implemented only 15 per cent of the RM2.4 billion-worth of its 31 election pledges made in its 2008 manifesto.
“Selangor’s Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, commented that a manifesto is not a promise but conceded that voters may think otherwise,” it then said.
The report also quoted latest opinion polls which showed Najib’s approval rating of more than 60 per cent, but noted 47 per cent ofthose surveyed saying that they were satisfied with the government.