Pakatan pledges economic reform to redistribute wealth

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SHAH ALAM: Pakatan Rakyat unveiled its election manifesto yesterday with promises to reshape the Malaysian economy from one dominated by the elite to a more equitable economy for the people.In presenting the economic plans outlined in its manifesto, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli said the federal opposition coalition will broadly seek to end unfair economic practices and place more disposable income in the hands of working Malaysians.“Malaysia’s economic approach will be changed toward improving the people’s income regardless of race, instead of aiming for 30% corporate equity ownership,” Rafizi said, alluding to the aims of the New Economic Model of the 1970s.Rafizi also announced the coalition’s plans to stimulate competition and put an end to monopolies which have burdened the economy.“Malaysia is a country with immense potential. The people and the country deserve much better than what Barisan Nasional has been offering for the last 55 years,” he said.Pakatan’s election manifesto was unveiled yesterday during its fourth convention. The manifesto builds on its Buku Jingga (Orange Book), a common policy framework should the three-party coalition come to power at the federal level.Buku Jingga, launched in December 2010, outlines a slew of promises, including freeing national institutions; achieving a fairer mode of income distribution; increasing the people’s disposable income; transparency in governance; focusing on education; fighting corruption; and recognising Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners in the Malaysian federation.Promises outlined in the manifesto include:•    Each Malaysian household will have a monthly take home income of at least RM4,000 to reduce income disparity. This will be implemented within the first term of Pakatan’s rule;•    One million new job opportunities will be created for Malaysians while dependence on foreign workers will be reduced progressively in sectors like plantations, construction and the service industry;•    Minimum wage of at least RM1,100 per month compared with the current minimum wage of RM900 for Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 for Sabah and Sarawak;•    The creation of a RM2 billion Minimum Wage Implementation Facilitation Fund to provide automation incentives and implementation grants to help small  and medium enterprises deal with the onset of the minimum wage;•    Income tax band will be broadened so that only those whose income exceeds RM400,000 will be taxed the maximum 26% rate, compared with the present rate for those earning RM250,000 annually; and•    Allocation of RM500 million for military veterans to participate in entrepreneurial activities and an increase in the government’s contribution to the Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) savings fund.Pakatan leaders greeting delegates at the launch.The manifesto, meanwhile, also contains the following pledges in order to stimulate competition and put an end to monopolies:

•    Establish a powerful Anti-Monopoly Commission and amend existing laws relating to competition in a bid to stop unfair business practices;•    Establish a Public Contracts Commission to oversee all agreements between the government and the private sector;•    Abolish monopolies in telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, civil aviation, food and other key sectors;•    Dissolve 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) so that only Khazanah Nasional Bhd remains the state’s sole investment arm;•    Dispose of government holdings in GLCs that are not involved in sectors of national importance;•    Grant direct taxi permits to drivers to put an end to unfair taxi licensing policies;•    Halt  the controversial Lynas rare earth processing plant in Gebeng, Pahang;•    Review the implementation of the Rapid petrochemical hub project in Pengerang, Johor;•    Legal reform of all existing legislation related to logging activities; and•    Stop building hydroelectric dams which damage the environment.

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