Sunday, August 14, 2022

Election Manifesto for what?

Secara Rawak

After the list of the candidates, the next most significant and important piece of document that the people wanted to know and to be released for public consumption during an election is the Election Manifesto of the contending political parties.

In the past, we have seen election manifesto been thrown around everywhere. Does this mean that the people are not taking seriously what is written in the manifesto? Or, they don’t understand what the actual exercise of producing an election manifesto is all about.

It is a normal practice in Malaysia that the election manifesto is distributed to the people. The BN’s manifesto, in particular, can be found everywhere and in all corners of the state.

Voters don’t compare and discuss

From what I observed in the past elections, an election manifesto is something that is distributed, but not something that is read. Rarely, do we see the people flipping the pages of the manifesto, let alone comparing and discussing the manifesto of the different political parties.

An election manifesto should have helped to increase the political awareness of the people, and to make them to understand their roles in the political process.

Let us refer to the BN’s pledge to guarantee the people’s right over their land. To ensure that the BN really means what it intends to do in this respect, the people then should start to ask the BN candidates how this is going to be done and achieved, and what strategy and approach it is going to employ to attain this end.

Unless, the people start to become inquisitive and critical about the issues mentioned, the manifesto is not going to count for much.

Even the candidates are not serious about their own election manifesto. How many of them have the election manifesto with them as they move around the constituency soliciting for votes? I won’t be surprised if they don’t have any with them at all.

A manifesto is a political document as it outlines the pledges and the promises of the political party participating in the election.

In an election, a political party needs to sell itself to the public. An election manifesto is a form of a marketing technic utilised to attract the people’s attention. It is produced for the people to digest and as a point of reference in their decision-making.

The onus is on the candidates to explain to the people what’s in the manifesto. The people, on the other hand, should play their part by asking the candidates the relevant and related questions.

They should ask the candidates how they are going to help to make the intended course of action to become materialised, and can be realised for the benefits of the people.

The people should ask the candidates and their campaign workers what strategy, approach, method that they are going to employ to ensure the issues pointed out in the manifesto can be solved.

Leading the way

The people should ask whether the problems facing the community are to be addressed, how they are going to be addressed, how soon they will be addressed, why they need to be addressed, and who will be entrusted to lead the way in addressing those issues.

The people should know that the general elections are not only about rhetoric and past achievements. The manifesto should be contemporary, practical, and forward looking. There is no point in dwelling with the past.

It is interesting to see that the various political parties having their own manifesto even though they say they belong to either one of the 2 camps contesting in the state 11th general elections.

The PKR has its own manifesto, and so has the DAP. On the BN side, the PRS has some peculiar issues to address, and so has the SUPP.

As there is no indication to show that the BN is going to be defeated, the BN’s manifesto should be of particular interest to the people.

Memorandum of understanding

Should we regard the BN’s manifesto as a memorandum of understanding between the party and the people? Should the people consider it as the BN’s KPI and work-target for the next 5 years?

The people should ask the BN candidates to explain the key points in the manifesto, and how they can contribute to translate those points into government policy initiatives, programmes and projects.

As for the oppositions, the people should ask whether they are to pursue their election pledges earnestly, with full enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment, even though what they say inside and outside the state assembly is not going to mean much in the overall schemes of things.

The PRS and the SUPP, for example, have to explain to the people as to why their pledges are not exactly the same as the BN’s pledges.  By the same token, both the PKR and the DAP have to explain as to why there are obvious differences between their election pledges. And even more crucial, the BN has to make the people to believe that it can be trusted and has the political will to deliver its pledges and promises. –

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