Friday, August 20, 2010

Bonus for Old Folks: Welfare or Bribe?

There's a difference: Tony Pua on DAP's Putrajaya promise

PETALING JAYA, Aug 16: Petaling Jaya Utara member of parliament Tony Pua has defended DAP’s three people-friendly plans it promised would be implemented if voted into power the next general election, saying they are not election bribery.

He was responding to a suggestion by UMNO Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin that the announcement by DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng last week showed the party was also committing election bribery, an accusation it made against UMNO president Najib Razak when he made by-election promises during the recent Sibu election.

“Basically, we'll give you a thousand bucks if you vote for us. You guys the pot or the kettle? This is a promise of a specific benefit to a specific group if you vote a certain way. Same thing,” Khairy had said.

Lim last week had announced three major policy initiatives if Pakatan Rakyat manages to capture Federal government, among them are the abolishment of the ‘saman ekor’ and practice of blacklisting owners of vehicles, annual allowance of RM1,000 for the elderly and free wi-fi connection throughout Malaysia.

In a Twitter posting, Pua took pains to show the difference between DAP's announcement and Najib's infamous speech in Sibu, where he said he would release RM5 million if BN won.

“Big difference - Najib's deal – RM 5 million only if BN wins in Sibu even though BN already both state and federal government. That's abuse and enticement.

“Offering bribes is when BN is already (the) government, but promises of development only if a candidate wins in by-election,” said Pua, stressing that giving welfare benefit was the duty of the government.

“By the way, the Senior Malaysian Bonus policy has been in our alternative budget policy since 2007. Not something 'new'," Pua added.

Guan Eng had said the initiatives were not a form of vote-buying as there was no election in sight.

“What vote-buying? We are not even having an election now. Why is it wrong to give money to the people? To the BN, giving money to themselves is not wrong but giving money to the people is,” said the Penang Chief Minister.
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