'ROME was not built in a day'


KUALA LUMPUR: Today marks the 100th day of the Pakatan Harapan government under the leadership of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The government has been given the mandate to administer the country for the next five years after winning the 14th General Election (GE14) on May 9.

Attention is on PH’s capability to implement its manifesto, especially its 10 core promises, which it had promised to fulfil within 100 days.

New Straits Times Press journalist Mohd Iskandar Ibrahim spoke to PH Manifesto Committee chairman Datuk Dr Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff on the issue and he has called on everyone to be patient, stating that “Rome was not built in a day”.

The following is the question-and-answer session with Rais. Question: Can you explain PH’s manifesto, especially the 10 election promises to be implemented in 100 days? Answer: In the PH manifesto booklet, it is clear that these (election promises) would be implemented over two phases.

The first phase encompasses 10 election promises, while the second contains 60 others to be implemented in five years. Q: What was the process involved in producing the PH manifesto? A: The manifesto was drafted by a committee led by me involving four parties — DAP, Parti Amanah Negara, PKR and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

We took eight months to complete it. During that time, it involved academia and non-governmental organisations, which were (tasked with finding out) what the people wanted.

We carried out primary and secondary analyses and their findings became the basis and source of the PH manifesto.

It was then tabled to the PH top leadership, approved and distributed. Q: Some quarters claimed that the PH manifesto was hatched without thorough analysis and is not realistic. Can you explain? A: A total of Seven professors from local universities took part in preparing the manifesto and they wish to remain anonymous.

But they tapped into what the people wanted and the information we got was factual and not plucked out of the air.

This manifesto was analysed and prepared by many quarters and is realistic.

However, at the time, we were not privy to various information, such as the yellow, red or green books (referring to information concealed by the previous government).

Pakatan Harapan Manifesto Committee chairman Datuk Dr Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff says six out of the 10 election promises have been fulfilled. PIC BY HALIMATON SAADIAH SULAIMAN

Q: What are some of the 10 promises fulfilled? A: There are three classifications. First are the implemented manifestos, second are the almost completed ones while the third is work in progress.

Out of the 10, six have been fulfilled. The first was the abolishment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the second was to stabilise the price of oil.

The third promise, which is in progress, is to write off some of the debts borne by Felda settlers. We received information that more study needs to be done to help them.

The fourth promise is an Employees Provident Fund (EPF) scheme for housewives, while the fifth promise is to implement the minimum wage, which is in progress.

The sixth promise is the postponement of repayment of National Higher Education Fun Corporation, loans while the seventh is the setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), Felda, Tabung Haji, Majlis Amanah Rakyat and the restructuring of these organisations.

The eighth promise is to set up a special cabinet committee on Sabah and Sarawak, the ninth on the wellbeing of the people and the tenth to revise mega projects. These pledges are almost completed. Q: For the past 100 days, how do you see the government’s classification efforts on these pro-mises? A: The government has done its best, considering it inherited a trillion ringgit in debt from the previous government. The democratic institution was plundered just to satisfy the needs of certain individuals. Q: Some government leaders are sceptical of the manifesto. A: For me, They should ease their concerns and reintensify their efforts as six promises have been achieved, while the rest were impeded by the previous government.

Give us some time — Rome was not built in a day. Q: How do you feel about the acceptance of the people on the manifesto in the first 100 days? A: The acceptance has been mixed. Some are happy and some are not. I see their acceptance as good but some are concerned about the royal institution and Islam. But the manifesto is based on the Federal Constitution and upholds Malay rights, as well as protecting Bumiputeras and Islam.

DAP also agrees with this. and those who are not happy didn’t read the PH manifesto but just glanced through it.

The government has the right to devise and plan the best course of action it can take to fulfil its pledges made in GE14. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd