Perak BN Targets Rebuilding Ageing State, With Eye On Health

Saarani Mohamad says Perak is an ageing society, with the emigration of about 124,000 young people. About 11% of Perak’s population is aged 65 and older, nearly double the nationwide rate.

IPOH, Nov 9 – Perak Barisan Nasional’s (BN) state manifesto unveiled yesterday listed health care as one of four main pledges should the coalition form state government in the upcoming general election.

Under its health care agenda, the state manifesto proposed to increase medical funds and expand health insurance for senior citizens in Perak, the country’s oldest state. 

Incumbent Perak Menteri Besar Saarani Mohamad, who is Perak BN chairman, also vowed upgrades and an increase in elderly activity centres throughout the state.

BN Perak’s manifesto comes a day after the coalition’s central leadership announced BN’s “Pelancaran Pelan Amal dan Usaha” (Padu) manifesto for the 15th general election, which completely omits health care reform.

Saarani was also scheduled to table the Perak state budget this month. Saarani, who will be defending his state seat in Kota Tampan in the 15th general election, described the manifesto as a “continuity” of the Perak Sejahtera 2030 plan under BN rule.

According to the mid-term plan, Perak’s population was projected to see an increase in people aged 65 and above from 7.7 per cent in 2010 to 11 per cent of the state’s 2.51 million population in 2020 – which is nearly double the percentage nationwide at 6.73 per cent.

The Perak BN manifesto’s proposal for senior citizens also included a RM500,000 increase to the state’s Sinar Sejahtera Medical Fund for cataract surgery and the establishment of funds for dialysis treatment.

“This general election is not a time to be jesting whether it’s ‘ayaq or ayor. Barisan is serious when we go into GE15 because we are serious about helping the people. The manifesto that we will reveal is not an afterthought. It is not made up. It is not mere rhetoric. 

“It is based on our evaluation of the current situation, building on our engagements with the poor, the business folks, students, differently-abled people, the Malays, Chinese, Indian, Punjabi, Orang Asli – we know what they want, their criticisms, and their hopes,” said Saarani in his speech at the manifesto launch in Bandar Meru Raya, Ipoh, yesterday.

“Covid-19 has impacted the country, the state, and everywhere else globally. In Perak, we have data to show that no less than 53,000 jobs were lost due to business closures as a result of the pandemic.

“The many lockdowns due to Covid-19 also affected 80,000 entrepreneurs. What is more tragic is that about 124,000 young people, who are well educated, have migrated away from Perak, making the state an ageing society.

“Hence, if we want to retake control of the state government, we need to have a detailed, overarching plan on how we can rebuild and develop the state so that it can thrive once again,” Saarani said.

Crowd of Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters at the launch of Perak BN’s manifesto for the 15th general election in Ipoh, Perak, on November 8, 2022. Picture by Saw Siow Feng.

Perak BN’s manifesto also included a one-off RM200 child care support for newborns for bottom 40 per cent income (B40) households and a continuity of the state’s Basic Kit for Women to address period poverty in the B40 community with an allocation of RM1.5 million. The latter will be expanded to all 12 districts under the state.

The plan also proposes to establish social support centres to provide counselling services as part of the state’s mental health plan.

When asked by CodeBlue at a press conference on how Perak BN plans to fund proposals in its manifesto, Saarani merely said that all things have been taken into account to make sure that all items listed in the document can be delivered.

BN’s Tambun candidate Aminuddin Md Hanafiah, in his speech, said: “We are not promising the moon and the stars the way Pakatan Harapan did in 2018. We are promising things that can be achieved and can benefit the people in Perak. This is what BN will do and deliver.”

Aminuddin is up against prime minister hopeful Anwar Ibrahim from Pakatan Harapan’s PKR, incumbent Ahmad Faizal Azumu (Perikatan Nasional-Bersatu), and Abdul Rahim Tahir (Gerakan Tanah Air-Pejuang) for the federal seat.

“The atmosphere is different than in 2018. People are more welcoming, more open to accept us, to receive us. What we will do this time is to continue to convince the people in Tambun with this manifesto that we have the best to offer the people of Perak,” Aminuddin said.

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