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PUTRAJAYA — Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak today announced the invention of two new calendar months to add to the existing twelve, in a move critics say is a shameless way for his Barisan Nasional administration to buy more time to prepare for the 13th general elections, which must be held no later than 27th June 2013.
The two new months — Febarch, inserted between February and March, and Marpril, slotted between March and April — consisting 30 days each, will be implemented starting this year and would increase the number of days in 2013 to a total of 425.
Najib said that the decision to add the new months did not have anything to do with the elections and that it was merely a way of giving more time for Malaysians to enjoy each year.
“Too many times I hear complaints by people that there isn’t enough time in their daily routine to do everything they needed or wanted to do,” said Najib to reporters at Sri Perdana. “Between their jobs and responsibilities, their daily commute being stuck in traffic and precious time to wind down, many cannot find the time to enjoy with their families or pursue their hobbies. My administration is very concerned about this trend, and being a caring government, feel that we must do something to help the people.
“Of course, the cost of adding more hours in a day is prohibitive — that would involve slowing down Earth’s rotation to delay sunrise and sunset, so we decided to use some innovation to add more days to the year — hence giving some breathing space for everyone. Malaysians are known around the world as some of the most hardworking people, but this may come at a cost. With 60 extra days in each year, we can all plan more time-off and vacations with our loved ones.
“At the very least, we would not have to rush everything so much,” said Najib.
The opposition meanwhile lambasted the premier for his latest announcement as a ‘desperate and unfair delaying tactic’.
“This is outrageous! The PM cannot simply invent months to buy more time to prepare for GE13,” said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, leader of Pakatan Rakyat when contacted. “Malaysians have spent too long under this oppressive regime to tolerate underhanded tactics like this, just because the ruling government is not ready to fight. We cannot wait any more. Call for elections now!” he growled angrily.
“Besides, how in God’s name are we supposed to fit with the timing of the rest of the world? While other countries enter 2014 in ten months, we would still be crawling along, left behind by two whole months,” added Anwar. “And in six years, we would be left behind by a whole year. The synchronisation process would be extremely stressful for businesses and communities alike, I’m already having trouble with jetlag from my international trips!”
Offering a rebuttal, Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim said that the opposition should stop viewing every government initiative as an election ploy. “Please, not everything we do is about the elections. We do, occasionally, do things for the benefit of the people, with no extrinsic motivation,” said Rais sarcastically. “The Prime Minister saw that the people were getting too stressed out, chasing deadlines and not having enough time for themselves, what’s wrong with helping them? Don’t be so negative!
“Every single time we do something good, the opposition finds ways to discredit us. We give BR1M, KR1M, TR1M, they say we’re bribing the people. There’s just no pleasing them. Besides, it is perfectly within the powers of the PM to adjust the calendar according to national interest. We’ve changed our monetary denominations and adjusted time zones before to accommodate commercial needs, what’s the big deal?” asked the senior cabinet minister.
“This is the difference between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat — we are all about Malaysia Boleh (Malaysia Can) while for them it is always Tidak Boleh (Cannot),” he scoffed.
“This is our anything-is-possible spirit. The spirit of ‘1Malaysia Possible’. In fact, I will propose to the Prime Minister to launch this 1Malaysia Possible (1Mpossible) campaign as soon as possible, to embolden our people to embrace our endless possibilities. Let the opposition be stuck in their old ways, while we the youth accelerate into the future!“