BN VS PR Manifesto: Plagiarism or Similarity?
National Coalition’s (BN) Manifesto for the 13th GE was received with praises and hopes as well as confidence by Malaysians. It was said to be the best Manifesto yet, considering BN is still in the process of recovering from the 2008 political tsunami. It is evident, in the responds and supports showed by the people towards the manifesto that BN is recovering quite rapidly.
The people even took the Prime Minister’s apologies of any flaws and weaknesses throughout the years of BN’s rule, as a sign of humility, sincerity and almost ‘touching’. He gained more support since.
Sensing their defeat, the Oppositions (PR) is struggling to stay ‘afloat’ as they have used up all their bullets much too soon and too fast during the last 4 years.
PR is now left with stones and rocks to use against BN at this critical hour. The only issue they managed to come up with is, accusing BN of plagiarism of their Manifesto which they announced weeks earlier. As expected, the desperate attempt is soon echoed by international medias, namely, Bloomberg which then wrote an article entitled “Malaysia’s Najib Unveils Poll Manifesto Similar to Anwar’s.”
Among the similarities claimed, are lowering car prices, cheaper Internet and a pan-Borneo highway.
Bloomberg also highlighted a comment from James Chin, professor of political science at the Malaysian campus of Australia’s Monash University who said that. “Najib talked mostly about things that are popular with the people. He didn’t give details on macro- economic issues like implementing GST and cutting state subsidies.”
There is a difference between a Manifesto and a Budget. A manifesto is a promised made and tabled in general whereby the macro-economic issues already taken into account but not discussed in details. The details of each would then be taken up by each implementation unit with its cost and figures that tallies with national budget.
And as far as Malaysians are aware of, there are no details on macro-economic issues in PR’s manifesto either. But then, let’s not make it into a big deal as the main issue here, as alleged by Bloomberg, is ‘plagiarism’.
We cannot deny of similarity but plagiarism is never the case. In fact, it is possible that two people to have similar ideas but that doesn’t mean that one of them is a copy-cat.
Let’s say that BN has, as claimed, copied PR’s manifesto on the surface. Still, what is significant to the Malaysians is that the implementation of the idea, not the ‘title’.
Malaysias only concern is that which party offers the best way to do it, that would not harm the country and most importantly, practical and logical. Everybody and anybody can give ideas, even good brilliant, tempting ideas, but whether or not that idea is realistic is what really matters.
Let’s take the subject of ‘lowering car prices’, for instance. The fact is that the income comes through the excise duty and sales of AP.
The PR plans to lower car prices by consecutively abolishing the excise duty by 20% every year and offers the AP for bidding. In order to sustain the cashflow, an amount of RM2 billion a year would be allocated for 2013-2014 and RM1 billion a year between 2015-2017. It is projected that the country would be able to generate income from 2017 onwards to make up to the RM7 billion ‘lost’ from the abolished excise duty, with a projected increase of 4% a year. This means by 2017, the country can just forget about the RM8.2 billion projected income from the excise duty. But, according to PR, this ‘lost’ would be made up through the bidding of AP whereby the opening price is RM10,000 and the selling price would surely be so much more. The income from the bidding would be fully utilized in the first 3 years.
Now, the question lies in the ‘RM2 billion’ capital injection. Where will it come from? Bear in mind that the country would be abolishing a steady 20% excise duty every year for 5 years: 2013-RM1.4 billion, 2014-RM2.9 billion and continues throughout 2017- at RM8.2 billion, and at the same time would be injecting a steady cash of RM2 billion every year until 2014 and RM1 billion until 2017. A simple calculation would show a descending trend in cashflow which would show a negative number as soon as 2015 arrives.
BN on the other hand, plans to only lower the excise duty by 20%-30% per year and not abolish it, and at the same time continues with the AP sales and not put it up for bidding. Therefore, even though the price of cars would be lower, the country would still be enjoying at least a steady 70% income from the excise duty every year, plus, the income from the sales of AP as usual. This way, the country’s cashflow wouldn’t be affected. The money would be used to further prosper the country and could also be added to the cash handouts that were promised so that the people may enjoy the benefit directly.
This is how the Malaysians see it, that there is so much difference in both manifestos if only one cares to study them a little.
So, the Oppositions may cry ‘plagiarism’ all they want, but the people now know better to not trust the wolves. Plagiarism or not, similar or copycat, we go for track records when it comes to choosing our government. What PR has is just ‘good offer’, but BN offered us a ‘promise’. PR may fooled Bloomberg or its readers but we, Malaysians know for a fact that BN keeps promises and PR never!
Moreover, we have had our lessons that most of PR ideas are not very good ideas such as abolishing ISA which only led to more crime and risks. But then, what do we expect from PR when it was Anwar Ibrahim’s idea that almost bankrupted the country back in 1998.