FMT - Cenbet: Stop election promises which bring long-term harm
Saturday, February 24, 2018
PETALING JAYA: The Centre For A Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) wants both the ruling and opposition parties to come up with sustainable, out-of-the-box solutions, and not engage in one-upmanship that can “lead us down a slippery slope of socio-economic devastation”.

Cenbet president Gan Ping Sieu spoke of the “rising populism” that is evident in the run-up to the next general election (GE14), which is just months, if not weeks away.

“Of late, we notice there has been a rise of populism among aspirants from both sides of the divide. Cenbet, which champions good governance, is deeply concerned by this rising trend.

“Those vying for votes in the next general election should refrain from making unrealistic populist pledges that are detrimental to the country’s long-term interests,” Gan said in a statement today.

He gave the examples of Selangor Barisan Nasional’s pledge to bringing back free plastic bags and the Pakatan Harapan (PH) promise to remove the GST and restore fuel subsidies as being issues that could adversely affect the country.

Other promises that have been made by PH include free live telecast of English Premier League football matches and free motorcycle licence.

“Any economist can attest that many of these pledges harm the country in the long-run.

“The country’s long-term well-being should not be sacrificed for short-term electoral gains,” he said.

He added that elected representatives should always remember that they are “leaders”, not “followers”.

“It would be a crying shame for aspiring leaders to sacrifice the nation’s interests for the sake of popularity at the ballot boxes.”

However, Gan did not put the responsibility solely on the political parties, advising voters to also change the way they vote, by not falling for such promises.

“Voters should be more discerning at the ballot boxes and not fall for sweet promises that will bring about bitter results in the long-run.

“When voters reject populism, aspirants for public office would be incentivised to come up with sound policies that put the nation at heart,” he said.

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