11 July, 2009

100 Days of Najib and his "people-friendly" measures.

Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak today announced 11 "people-friendly" measures in conjunction with his first 100 days in office as the prime minister, among them discounts for frequent users of toll roads, ownership of public housing to those renting them, and a new unit trust scheme.

Speaking at the "100 Days of Najib with the People" function at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) here, Najib said a 20 per cent discount would be given to users of the pre-paid Smart Tag and Touch n Go cards who pay toll 80 times or more in a month.

He said this was an interim solution pending the completion of a comprehensive study on the toll rates, which he felt would take time.

Najib said he had come to know that some users of toll roads paid about RM300 in toll a month out of their RM3,000 monthly salary, and added that these people only earned 11 months salary in a year because one month's salary went totally to toll payment.

"I believe this (discount) will come as a relief to the people, particularly those who use toll roads daily," he said.

In a televised address to the nation, Datuk Seri Najib Razak also outlined the focus of his administration would be in six key areas:

• The prevention of crime;

• The fight against corruption;

• Access to quality education;

• The improvement of the living standards for the lower income group;

• Improvement of rural infrastructure;;

• Improvement of public transportation.

Besides offering motorists a 20 per cent discount for those who use toll roads more than 80 times a month and increasing the number of individual taxi permits by 3,000, he also announced:

• The allocation of 44,000 units in public housing projects to be offered for sale to tenants;

• A 50 per cent reduction in license fees for petty traders in the Federal Territories;

• Drastic steps to be taken to combat crime and graft of which details would be announced later;

• A pledge to settle birth registration issues in east Malaysia;

• A pledge to settle citizenship applications in East Malaysia;

• A pledge to build up to 1,500 kilometres of rural roads;

• Efforts to be made to improve water and electricity supply to east Malaysia;

• A reduction in the cost of motorcycle riding courses from RM500 to RM211;

• A new Amanah Saham 1 Malaysia with 10 billion units offered for sale to all Malaysians above 18.

Najib also extended an olive branch to critics of the government’s human rights record.

“The era of government knows best is over,” he said. “We will consult the public including on the review of the Internal Security Act and this includes consulting the Bar Council and other NGOs.”

Najib new slogan of 1Malaysia has already been much questioned and ridiculed by news portals and hostile bloggers. His attempt at liberalisation of the country’s political and economic system has often been criticised as being too little too late.

Worse still, his Barisan Nasional coalition has suffered a string of defeats in a series of by-elections, while we await the outcome of the Manek Urai by-election in Kelantan.

Meanwhile, the unresolved political imbroglio in Perak with its ongoing related court cases keep alive the festering discontent among a huge swathe of the rakyat.

The tradition of reviewing the performance of a new national leader after 100 days in office began with the 32nd President of the United States Franklin D Roosevelt (1882 – 1945). Coming into power in 1933, FDR was immediately plunged into the very depth of the Great Depression.

One hundred days would be too brief a period to give a fair and accurate assessment on the performance of any new top political leader. What is certain is that the months and years ahead will be full of such political challenges never before confronted by a new prime minister in the history of our country.

At stake is the future political fortune of his BN coalition and his personal future as prime minister of Malaysia. The next general election to be held in three or four years’ time must weigh heavily on his weary mind in his every waking hour!

Indeed, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Najib Abdul Razak now has probably the most unsavoury job in the country.

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