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Malaysian parties crank up election machinery
Publication Date : 19-02-2013
As the clock ticks on towards Malaysia's 13th general election, political parties are revving up their election machinery, with manifestos almost ready for public scrutiny.
The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) is in the final stages of its draft while the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition says its manifesto is being translated into different local languages.
"Our manifesto is already approved by the top leadership of the coalition," Liew Chin Tong, a Democratic Action Party lawmaker, told The Straits Times. "Now, it's just a matter of waiting for the right time to distribute these documents."
Malaysian Insider, a local news portal, said the BN's manifesto should be completed by end-February. It will include promises outlined specifically for several states as well as one related to women and families.
There are no details yet, with politicians not wanting to give away their strategies before the time is ripe.
"All I can say is, the manifesto will be very detailed and speak to the voters," Datuk Rusnah Kassim, an Umno lawmaker, told The Straits Times.
PR has said it will continue to highlight previously discussed policies, such as lower taxes on cars and free tertiary education.
"It will not be too far off from what we have told the public, but our strategists may also come up with new policies that are relevant to the people," Liew said.
Malaysia's next election will be a crucial one, as the ruling BN government faces its toughest competition ever to renew its mandate, which expires on April 28.
In the 2008 general election, PR won five states including Penang and Selangor, denying the BN a two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time since independence in 1957.
Politicians from both coalitions have been busy meeting voters and updating volunteer lists.
Since February 1, the BN has opened some 7,531 district polling centres nationwide.
"Our machinery has left no stone unturned and we even know which way the voters bend," Rusnah said.
Analysts said while momentum is gathering, both coalitions are conserving energy ahead of an announcement on a polling date.
"Neither coalition would want to run out of stamina during the campaigning period," Wong Chin Huat, a political analyst at Penang Institute, said.
"This is because both sides know that the coalition that makes fewer mistakes in the final lap will have more advantages over the other."