Malaysian ruling coalition promises better livelihood in election campaign

Facing the serious challenge from the opposition in the upcoming general election, Malaysia's ruling coalition unveiled its campaign manifesto Saturday, focusing on the improvement of people's livelihood.

The National Front promised to lower living costs by increasing cash assistance, build affordable houses, lower tax rate, weave social security nets and better health service.

It also promised improvement in areas that have drawn public dissatisfaction, such as public security and fighting corruption.

The ruling coalition, which has been governing the country since its independence in 1957, suffered a blow by losing two- third majority in the parliament in last general election in 2008.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, announcing the campaign manifesto in front of several thousands of supporters late Saturday, slammed the opposition for failing to honor its campaign promises in the previous election.

Najib has urged voters to choose stability provided by the National Front over the changes promoted by the opposition. Najib took over as the president of United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the dominant party in National Front, and the Prime Minister after his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawiwas forced out in 2009.

He has since embarked on a reform schedule under the slogan of "One Malaysia", including government and economic transformation plans, in a bid to achieve the goal of making Malaysia a high income country by 2020. His government also repealed some harsh laws including the Internal Security Act.

However, some already warned that a worse election outcome may cost Najib's job as UNMO president, and subsequently as the Prime Minister.

The election commission is scheduled to hold a special meeting on Wednesday to decide the nomination and polling dates.

The opposition alliance unveiled its manifesto in February, promising lower oil price, lower utility fees and free education. But the plan was dismissed by the National Front and some pro- government media as fiscally unfeasible, which would bankrupt the country.