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DAP trashes Najib’s populist measures as ‘nothing new’

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 12, 2009

THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

By Neville Spykerman

KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s raft of populist measures announced today was roundly derided by the DAP as “easy talk” by a “Santa Claus”, and something which has been heard before by all Malaysians.

DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang pointed out that the real test of the prime minister’s leadership would not be in the slew of goodies promised but in the delivery of promises.

Lim was particularly scathing in his judgement of Najib’s promise to take drastic action on the rising crime rate and corruption. He said that nothing short of firing the Inspector-General of Police would convince Malaysians that the prime minister was serious about fighting crime.

“In the two critical areas of crime and corruption, all he could say was that drastic steps will be taken to combat crime and graft, of which details would be announced later,” he said.

“Najib had been a Cabinet Minister for 23 years since 1986, serving before that for four as deputy minister and another four as Pahang mentri besar — and he has nothing to announce whatsoever on the two burning issues in the country, crime and corruption, after 100 days as prime minister.”

To mark his 100 days in office, Najib made a series of populist announcements in a televised address this morning, promising a partial cut in road tolls and fees for petty trading licenses, among the slew of measures.

He also outlined the key areas his administration would target, listing crime and graft as a top priority but declining to say what “drastic steps” he would take.

Lim said that even Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was now calling for a “New Deal” for all Malaysians, referring to a speech delivered yesterday by the Umno veteran.

In the speech, the former finance minister also gave short shrift to the PM’s economic reforms, and argued for a “Malaysian New Deal” without race-based considerations, in order for the country to be talent-driven and competitive.

Tengku Razaleigh also argued that Malaysians should evaluate 1 Malaysia against issues like “the fact of constitutional failure in Perak” and “the stench of corruption” in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.

Lim backed the former finance minister’s call and said it would be more meaningful for Najib to endorse Razaleigh’s message rather than distributing the goodies he promised like an early-Christmas Santa Claus.

“Conspicuously missing is the main challenge to make all Malaysians one united people 52 years after Merdeka and 46 years after the formation of Malaysia with Sabah and Sarawak,” said Lim. He said what the prime minister has offered so far was nothing different from the discredited and failed policies of the Barisan Nasional (BN) governments.

He said Najib could restore his credibility by establishing two Royal Commissions of Inquiry into two recent high-profile exposes — the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal and the RM24 million “Istana Khir Toyo”.

DAP information chief Tony Pua was particularly critical of the PM’s 20 per cent discount for motorists using tolled roads more than 80 times a month.

“This is an insult to the people” said the Petaling Jaya member of parliament, who said he hopes this is just an appetiser and not the end-all solution to the problems faced by thousands of motorists.

He pointed out that there is an average of 22 working days in a month and most motorists are unlikely to use tolled roads more than 80 times in that period. Instead, he urged the government to exercise agreed “buy-back” clauses in agreements with highway concessionaires instead of offering meaningless discounts.

Pua described Najib’s other promises such as crime prevention, the fight against corruption, quality education and improving living standards as “easy talk”.

“We have heard all this before.” said Pua. He said that only a “few token promises” seemed concrete.

Pua said that among them were the 44,000 units in public housing projects to be offered for sale to tenants; a 50 per cent reduction in license fees for petty traders in the Federal Territories; and a reduction in the cost of motorcycle riding courses from RM500 to RM211.

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