Pakatan Harapan has unveiled its manifesto. Much of it is positive, such as higher government spending on public healthcare from 2% of GDP to 4%, institutional reforms, inquiries into all the massive corruption scandals and abolition of GST.
We definitely need to expand our general hospitals and provide more doctors and specialists. It is distressing to see so many people, especially senior citizens, having a tough time at general hospitals, waiting in long queues to see doctors and specialists.
Sometimes they have to wait for months for an appointment to see a specialist. Or they have to visit the hospital more frequently to collect their medicines. This is tough or expensive for senior citizens without transport, especially for those with disabilities.
The lowering of tolls and its eventual abolition is a populist vote-catching move. But encouraging more people to drive is not a far-sighted move from an ecological perspective.
Instead, I would have liked to see more investment in overland rail services, including intercity services, and bus rapid transit. Intercity electric trains are already highly popular and trains are already full most times. But they are unable to cope during the festive season, so the highways get clogged up. Abolishing tolls would only encourage more people to use their cars for long distance travel.
A better move would have been to pledge to use the billions in toll revenue (maybe reduced slightly until public transport is up to the mark) to finance investments in public transport across the nation.
Meanwhile, what does the PH manifesto have to say about swap deals and massive land reclamation? What happens to the regressive RM46bn shopping list for expensive transport infrastructure in Penang? Swap deals should be abolished.
Limiting the prime minister’s term to two years is a good move, and the same should be applied to the chief ministers’ position, going back to when they first took office. If it is not applied retrospectively, we could end up with a situation where chief ministers could serve for 15-20 years on the trot. That wouldn’t be healthy.
The argument that if it was applied retrospectively, then Mahathir wouldn’t be able to become interim prime minister (if PH wins) doesn’t hold water. This could be overcome simply by saying that the prime minister shouldn’t serve for more than two consecutive terms. Mahathir stepped down in 2003, and there has been a break of 15 years. Now that there is a significant groundswell of support for him to return as interim prime minister, he should be allowed to return.
So it should be a limit of two consecutive terms in office, and it should be applied retropectively. After the terms are up, the prime minister’s and chief ministers’ tenure in office should end. Then after a five- or 10-years spell out of office, they should once again be eligible to be reappointed as prime minister/chief minister if there is a clamour for them to return to office – but only for a single term. What do you think?
Share with us your thoughts on these manifestos.