‘PR policies lack boldness’

Analysts say opposition’s convention did not show comprehensive policies

Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani, The Malay Mail 

Pakatan rakyat (PR) has fallen short in providing a viable alternative to the present federal government after holding its convention over the weekend in Kedah.

Despite capturing five states and preventing Barisan Nasional (BN) its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority in 2008, analysts told The Malay Mail yesterday that the opposition has yet to provide an alternative model or solution.

Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng said PR’s convention in Alor Star was disappointing because the coalition had decided to instead ride on the weaknesses and problems of BN.

“As an alternative federal government, PR must have a solid social and economic plan. We have a high number of issues including fighting inflation and income level which has become a major discussion.

Yes, they have touched on corruption but what is their plan in combating corruption? What are their plans to help rejuvenate the economy? What is PR’s economic model?” he asked.

Khoo said PR must produce an economic blueprint to reduce the country’s dependency on rubber and palm oil industry into manufacturing and IT sectors.

“Human rights are important but at the end of the day there are also many more aspects to governance. “The PR state governments have managed to keep leakages to a minimum and paid more attention on cases of corruption but they are working on a model left behind by BN.

“What are Selangor’s plans to accommodate 50 to 60 per cent of the country’s graduates? What is Penang’s plan’s to optimise heritage status?” he said.

Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan said PR has not promised anything bold to help differentiate itself from the ruling coalition.

“Nothing new was proposed other than the Jingga Deal. I think it was disappointing in terms of policy discussion and explaining what the policies really are. It was not really bold enough to differ from what BN is doing,” he said.

“Although I am disappointed with PR because they have not been bold but the convention saw them forging together to come forward for the general election,” he said.

Universiti Utara Malaysia political science lecturer Dr Mohd Azizudin Sani said the convention was important for PR to rally its troop as it could be the last before the 13th general election.

Mohd Azizudin admitted to the lack of comprehensive policies proposed during the convention but stressed the meet was important especially after Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal over his sodomy charge.

“This could and may be the final convention before the election so this is the time for them to unite and show unity. Based on that, I think they are quite confident and said that they plan to take over Putrajaya.

“They have also launched their manifesto so we will see how the people will react and how much support the party will gain from this,” he said.