Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Selangor failure to deliver a lesson to voters, says Najib - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: May 7, 2008

The Selangor government has not lived up to the Pakatan Rakyat's promises of lower taxes and free education, the deputy prime minister said.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the failure of Selangor would be an "eye-opener and a lesson" to voters.

He said the Federal government had long predicted that opposition parties would have difficulty fulfilling their promises made in the general election.

Najib was referring to Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim's announcement on Monday that the state government was not in a position to reduce quit rent by 20 per cent as promised in the Parti Keadilan Rakyat election manifesto.

The state government will, instead, be giving incentives so that people settle their arrears.

Khalid had also said that a study was being carried out to determine whether it would be apt to reduce the quit rent since the state's economy was not growing at the desired rate, land prices were high and housing projects were ongoing.

Najib said people were often taken in by promises of lower taxes.

"During the elections, anyone can make promises," he said, adding that he hoped that people would realise that what was important was not the promises but how likely they were to be kept.

"We must have the maturity and the wisdom to decide for ourselves."

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin also criticised the Selangor government for making promises it could not keep.

He said this was the obvious difference between the Pakatan Rakyat, which took a populist approach to gain popular support, and the ruling Barisan Nasional, which had experience in government and only made responsible promises.

Khaled was speaking after officiating the opening of the International Conference On Educational Innovation, jointly organised by Universiti Malaya and the Malaysian National Commission for Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in Kuala Lumpur.

"If they bring down the rates, how can they ensure that quality standards within the jurisdiction of the various local authorities are maintained?" Khaled asked, adding that the opposition's promise of free education for all was unrealistic.

"If funds are channelled towards financing free education, and not enough is allocated to develop the economy, graduates won't be able to get jobs."

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