Msia's ruling Barisan Nasional to launch manifesto

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Kuala Lumpur (The Star/ANN) - Malaysia's ruling party Barisan Nasional will spell out its new commitments to the country in its manifesto which will be launched tomorrow.

Unlike past elections, this time it will also release its candidates list earlier to give voters time to familiarise themselves with the candidates.

Barisan chairman Najib Razak said the early manifesto launch was to allow the people to have a better understanding of it.

"The manifesto is our akujanji (pledge) to the people of Malaysia.

"With a fresh mandate, we will undertake renewal and changes in line with our objective, which is to further develop the economy and improve the wellbeing of the people," he said.

He said candidates would be named early to give them time to prepare.

"If we announce the names earlier, we will have more time to allow our candidates to introduce themselves.

"We will also get more time to observe the reaction towards our candidates and settle whatever problems that may arise," said Najib, who earlier chaired back-to-back meetings.

He, however, declined to reveal how many Barisan candidates would be new faces but gave an assurance that there would be an "element of renewal".

Najib said he would wait for the Election Commission to announce nomination and polling dates before revealing the coalition's candidates.

He said that in addition to its national manifesto, Barisan would also unveil state-level manifestos which would contain more specific policies geared towards the needs of the people in the respective states.

Citing examples, Najib said Barisan's manifesto for Selangor would contain policies regarding the state's water issue while for Kelantan, it would deal with certain infrastructure projects such as stadiums and highways.

The state manifestos would be released by the respective state-level Barisan, he added.

Najib reiterated that Barisan was cautiously optimistic that the coalition would be able to win big with a two-thirds majority but stressed that this would require hard work and minimal internal problems.

On the two meetings, Najib said it was held in accordance with tradition following the dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat and that apart from Barisan's manifesto, other matters discussed included the final preparation as well as activities planned between now and polling day.

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