Promises, promises, promises: the Pakatan trademark

Raja Sara Petra

The UK will be facing a general election in just after two weeks from now and, judging by the campaign speeches and promises being made, it looks like a copycat of Malaysia. The only difference is the UK campaign stretches over a month while in Malaysia it is over five years – starting from the morning after the general election all the way until midnight of polling day on the eve of the next general election.

What the political leaders in the UK are promising the voters are roads paved with gold and days of wine and roses ahead for Britons if they come into power. The big question is: if that can be done why has it not already been done by now? It is easy to promise but delivering these promises is another matter. The novelty about election promises is there is no deadline for delivery and you do not need to be accountable for failure.

And what is the difference with politicians and political parties in Malaysia? Promises, promises, promises – promise the sky and the moon – but no delivery. It would be good if these political parties or political leaders can promise a three-year delivery period and a promise that if they fail to deliver these promises the government will resign to allow for fresh general elections to be called. The party leader, too, must promise that he or she will resign his or her post on failure to deliver the election promises in the timeframe of, say, three years, and allow someone else to take over the party leadership.

Even more important than these promises is the plan on how to deliver what has been promised. Even in the UK they are promising the voters all sorts of things without explaining how it is going to be done, and when. These promises may sound good but we must be told how it is going to be done, when it is going to be done, and how the government-of-the-day is going to pay for all that. After all, the more you promise, the more it is going to cost, and if you promise to also cut taxes this sound like a pie in the sky.

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