“Manifesto not a bible, only a guide,” said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad back in mid-July.
Since then, we can see the trend of Harapan Manifesto is on the declining state. Nevertheless, it is not forgotten by the media. The manifesto was usually raised by opposition politicians, particularly Najib, or political analysts or columnists to question the government. On the positive note, it can provide a check and balance on the current government.
Besides, sometimes people jumped to conclusion on the manifesto promise without reading the whole explanation. As an example, the government was often attacked for not reducing or abolishing tolls despite it was written in Harapan Manifesto that they will do so.
Actually, the manifesto stated that the government will conduct study and review on the tools and if possible, the toll will be abolished.
On the other hand, Pakatan Harapan also got attacked for not recognising UEC. But, the recognition of UEC was not written in the 100 days promise. Expanding the time frame to recognise the examination certificate within 5 years sounds reasonable because the time frame for them to do so was not explicitly written in the promise.
It is expected for Pakatan Harapan to received criticisms for not doing what they have promise. Yet, we need to keep in my mind that it takes time for changes. Thus, if the government has yet to tackle on a promise, it does not mean that the government is breaking its promise. Maybe, the government just need more time.
However, we need to be aware when the government do the opposite of what they had promised. For instance, the manifesto stated that PTPTN borrowers who earned less than RM4,000 a month can defer their repayment. But in November, the Education Ministry announced that PTPTN will conduct an auto deduct for borrowers who earn at least RM2,000 a month. Due to the backlash of the mechanism, the auto deduct system will not proceed.
So, we as Malaysians, need to be wary on our government’s move in order to move ahead as “New Malaysia”. But in the words of Tun M, “Manifesto not a bible, only a guide,” some promise can be broken if it can provide a better outcome to our country.