UMNO-BN foul tactics justify the means
Seizing on rising discontent over high property prices amid low wages among city folks, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has promised to build one million affordable houses across the country in the next five years in return for the urban vote.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman’s coalition wants to win the May 5 general election with a convincing two-thirds parliamentary majority that was lost in Election 2008 when urban voters switched to the parties that now make up Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
Under gloomy skies, the caretaker prime minister focussed on affordable housing in a whistle-stop tour of Penang while introducing BN candidates to crowds largely made up of supporters and party workers yesterday.
“We promise one million affordable houses. But they promise, not one million, not 500,000 but just 150,000,” Najib said as he compared both coalition’s manifestos to a large crowd at the Penang riot police base in the Rifle Range residential area.
The working-class neighbourhood is the largest low-cost housing scheme in the island state, with nine 17- and 18-storey concrete blocks built in 1969 when the then opposition Gerakan won power. Gerakan is now part of BN and party secretary-general Teng Chang Yeow is the state coalition chief.
In Penang, Najib pledged to build 9,999 affordable flats in three DAP strongholds around the Rifle Range area, which is to be redeveloped from the 3,735 units into 4,800 units when combined with the police base land. The policemen are to be moved elsewhere.
He then asked the voters to elect the BN candidates to ensure the projects take off, saying “I have trust and confidence in this BN team to bring real change to Penang.”
Affordable housing has been a priority for Najib, whose government set up the PR1MA or People’s Housing 1 Malaysia agency to develop projects that cost RM400,000 for those earning RM3,000 monthly, who form a majority of urban voters and residents in Malaysia.
Housing has also been a major issue among voters, according to independent pollster Merdeka Center whose January survey showed 24 per cent of those interviewed rated “affordable housing” as an issue.
On mainland Penang, Najib told rural residents that his coalition was focussed on helping solve people’s problems rather than grandiose mega projects such as a tunnel connecting the island to the mainland proposed by caretaker Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s government.
“We want to help the people and that is why affordable housing is important,” he told party workers in Penaga, where his coalition’s new faces are facing candidates who have worked the ground the past few years.
“We will abolish the tunnel when we win the state. There is already a second bridge being complete. Why the hurry for the tunnel?” he asked rhetorically to applause from the crowd that was mostly clad in the coalition’s blue T-shirts.
The promise of affordable housing has also been repeated elsewhere in Najib’s blitzkrieg to shore up support in several key federal and state seats in Election 2013.
Just two weeks ago, the BN chairman launched the 1 Malaysia Civil Servants Housing Programme with houses priced from RM150,000 to RM300,000 in administrative capital Putrajaya.
The government will build 10,336 units of between 1,000 sq ft and 1,500 sq ft with the first phase would be located in Precinct 11 and Precinct 17 to be completed in 18 months.
There are also similar initiatives in other states, including in Malay-majority Negri Sembilan and Johor, as BN pins its hopes on getting enough support to continue its 56-years of unbroken rule in the country this Election 2013.
Najib, you are the incumbent government . You don't have to make promises. You should have done it in the past five years.
Where is the monorail , where is the duty free port or free port which the PCCTH was harping about..What kind of affordable home that cost Rm 400,000 and is called affordable ???? Do you think those who earn RM3,000 a month could pay an installment for a RM 400,000 house ?? pls. do your maths first , don't simply say anything because this is election time..
Every politician knows that last minute promises to an informed electorate will backfire. No sane politician will do it.
But desperate times require desperate measures and these are real desperate times for Najib.
The ship is sinking for the real captain was Rosmah. Lee Kuan Yew will tell you that. Najib rather listen to Rosmah then to UMNO. And UMNO watched as a hopelessly greedy wife ripped thru the treasury while thumbing on her husband with massive baggage.
At every rally you can literally see the anger and disgust written in people's face especially Gelang Patah..Lembag Pantai..Lahad Datu.
UMNO is out and in all likelihood will stay out. There is no place for race based politics in this day and age.
If there were no corruption, the overall cost of living would not rise, there would be more money in the pockets of rakyat. The constant in flow of immigrants without any check and balance is what i believe is causing the rise in housing and rise in rent around the country. Singaporeans are busy buying up whatever property we have that's seen as lucrative in turn pushing the cost of living up as well. This phenomena isn't being kept in check like how the singaporeans protect their own country by ensuring that properties are bought by singaporeans citizens and not sold out to foreigners!
Rising house prices? Why didn't BN anything to regulate it? As usual this evil government is playing hero and villain.
Why not the whole Malaysia gets affordable house! How? Get rid corruption, no crony economy, no toll, no car tax....then Malaysian will have good disposable income and we all can buy affordable house of our choice and location. Your affordable house will be of low quality, and the poor assigned to a locality and sooner or later create ghettos! Impose property tax on foreign buys!
I am sure the award of contract for these 1m has already been done! Unless PR wins!
You know Najib, PR 's 150k, is just trick to get you into delirious state! After 56 years of misrule and abuse, what makes us believe you and UMNO will deliver this MISPROMISE!