KUALA LUMPUR: The opposition election manifesto in the previous 14th General Election (GE14) was full of empty promises that left many people in the lurch, said caretaker prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Thursday (Oct 20).
He said that the youths were especially among those deceived by the promises in the Pakatan Harapan (PH)’s manifesto for GE14 in 2018.
"It differs (from ours) as in GE14, the youths were the most cheated with a manifesto of empty promises. The opposition failed to abolish PTPTN (loans for students in higher learning institutions), failed to create job opportunities, with tens of thousands of youths being thrown out of work,” said Mr Ismail Sabri in a Facebook post.
He said that the opposition offered only empty promises, unlike the 2023 Budget that his then-government tabled in parliament on Oct 7.
Although parliament was dissolved before the budget was debated and approved, Mr Ismail Sabri had said that the budget would be tabled again before the end of this year, if his government is re-elected in the coming 15th General Election (GE15) due on Nov 19.
The budget tabled by then-finance minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz on Oct 7 unveiled a spending plan involving RM372.3 billion (US$80.06 billion) for 2023, which includes several subsidies and programmes aimed to benefit many segments of the society.
Unlike the opposition’s manifesto, Mr Ismail Sabri said that his government's Budget 2023 is not a manifesto of empty promises but a plan which is ready to be implemented.
He said that under the budget, the loan repayment exemption for the PTPTN borrowers who come from B40 (Bottom 40 per cent income group) would be extended to the Middle 40 and Top 20 borrowers who graduated with a first-class honours degree.
In launching its election manifesto on Oct 20, PH vowed that eradicating corruption and alleviating the high cost of living will be its main focus in GE15.
Speaking at the PH convention in Ipoh, the coalition's chairman Anwar Ibrahim said: "Our slogan 'We Can' is based on the fact we will do whatever it takes to help the people ... We must win because we want to affect change in this country.
"The issues faced by the people, such as high prices of basic goods like eggs, chicken and vegetables, are burdening the population."
During the event, Mr Anwar was announced as the coalition's prime minister candidate for the upcoming polls.
Earlier on Thursday, the Election Commission (EC) announced that the polling day for GE15 will be on Nov 19. Nomination Day will be on Nov 5, while early voting is slated to be on Nov 15.
More than 21 million people will be eligible to cast their votes during the elections which are estimated to cost RM1.01 billion (US$213 million).
PH aims to repeat its victory from the last polls in 2018 when it ended Barisan Nasional’s (BN) 60-year reign in government.