PEOPLE first. These two words say it all for the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional’s manifesto announced on Saturday. No one can do better, and none did. Other parties have been here, there and in between. Parties govern because of people. People make parties, and not the other way round. Being in power since 1957, the coalition knows its people like the back of its more than 60-year-old palm, so to speak. There is magic in a tried and tested formula. Coming as it does fresh from accomplishing 99.4 per cent of the GE13 manifesto appropriately named Aku Janji 2013 (I Promise 2013), BN has what it takes to make promises and deliver them. After all, what good are promises if they are not kept. What counts is what gets delivered. Promises that go undelivered not only hurt the people and their dreams, but also set back the nation from being great. Missed opportunities derail national dreams, rob its people of what may have been.
BN’s manifesto is people first and more. There is a national purpose to it. It is about providing a liveable space for all under the hospitable Malaysian sun. It is also a national call to all and sundry to join the ruling government to make Malaysia great. Like a multi-petalled flower, the BN manifesto has something for everyone. Women, mothers, children, youth and the old each could pick a petal and say: “There is something there for me.” The ruling coalition’s message is this: No Malaysian will be left behind. No national space is left behind, too. From harum manis-land Perlis tucked away in the northeast through Johor in the south to Sabah and bumi kenyalang Sarawak across the blue waters of the South China Sea, all are amply covered by the party’s manifesto. Time present and time future are emphasised, too. It promises a home for everyone while shaping graduates for the Industrial Revolution 4.0. As part of this future-oriented education, the plan is to ready five million schoolgoing children with digital skills within five years. Disabled children, too, are not left out. A special education programme has been designed to prepare them for this complex future. The digital economy, too, is going to have a big slice of the national gross domestic product pie: it will contribute 25 per cent of Malaysia’s growth come 2023. The Federal Government plans to create one million entrepreneurs as part of this national strategy. You may say BN wants the future to begin today.
People want a government that promises to put people first. Given more than six decades of leading the government, one should not be surprised that BN understands this only too well. And, BN has promised to do that and more. The ruling coalition’s manifesto makes it known that BN is neither a government for the few, nor the many, but a government for all. In the language of its manifesto, BN is a government by the people, for the people. Simply put, BN wants to make Malaysia great. Again. It is hard to argue against that.