Najib promised more goodies, Mahathir called for end to 'cash is king' leadership in final appeals

Last minute appeals, but of different kinds.

Sulaiman Daud | May 09, 2018, 05:37 PM

As voters in Malaysia streamed to the polls on May 9, they might have been weighing up Prime Minister Najib Razak's last-ditch offers to win their vote.

On May 8, Najib promised three new policies to tempt the electorate into voting for his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition -- on top of everything else he's already promised.

Speaking at his final campaign rally in Kuala Lumpur, he promised the following:

  • No income tax for people aged 26 and below. Those who had paid income tax in the past would be reimbursed.
  • Two additional days of public holidays at the beginning of the Islamic month of Ramadan.
  • Beginning two days before Eid al-Fitr or Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the religious holiday marking the end of Ramadan, toll roads in Malaysia would be free for a period of five days.

Najib said during his speech that the fact he was able to make such expensive promises was evidence that Malaysia was a wealthy nation.

"These promises prove that we are not a bankrupt country or a failed state. A bankrupt country or a failed state would not be able to announce such measures."

He added, of his proposals on Ramadan:

"This would give time for Malaysians to spend time with their families as well as make their Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations."


No promises from Mahathir

In contrast, Mahathir Mohamad's final speech, also made on May 8, did not contain any major promises.

Instead, the former Prime Minister appealed to the voters to vote out a government "devoted to cash". He said:

"I realise I am old and I don’t have much time left (but) this is the last time I can contribute to the struggle of the country...What we need is to vote out a government that is devoted to cash."

He added:

"A vote for Pakatan will save our country from this ‘cash is king’ leadership. In their eyes, our pride can be bought with money. Don’t let our people be humiliated, belittled and made fools of."

Unlike Najib's speech, which was broadcast live on national television, Mahathir's speech was live streamed on the Internet.

He spoke in Langkawi, where he is competing for a seat in the Dewan Rakyat (Lower House of Parliament).

Top image adapted from Najib Razak's Twitter page and Mahathir Mohamad's Facebook page