Dr M: Country still reeling from economic catastrophe of BN rule

Damage from criminal acts has caused major disturbances to national recovery and public’s welfare, says Dr Mahathir

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad last night lambasted Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, took aim at the shameless co-conspirators and misguided followers, and claimed the country is still reeling from the economic destruction caused by the previous administration.

The PM in his address in conjunction with Pakatan Harapan’s first anniversary said the former Umno president and its members should be ashamed and feel guilty towards all Malaysians.

Dr Mahathir, who did not hold back his dissatisfaction, said he personally found it strange that Najib and his followers continued to act like they were innocent despite the various prosecutions and court charges, mostly related to the money siphoned from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The 93-year-old leader, who turned the occasion into Malaysia’s own state of the union address, said the damage from the criminal acts has caused major disturbances to the national recovery and the public’s welfare development.

“Although his offences have been exposed, Najib, his friends and his followers are still disputing their abuse of power, corruption and fraud.

“It is weird that while the 1MDB scandal investigation is ongoing, with those who are also responsible being brought to the court, including the SRC International Sdn Bhd case, Najib is still acting like an innocent guy, same goes to his friends,” Dr Mahathir said in a 40-minute address broadcast by all local channels.

Citing the US and Singapore governments’ willingness to return the alleged stolen money from 1MDB, Dr Mahathir said the previous administration should be asked about the source of the money that is being brought back to the country.

Dr Mahathir and the Pakatan Harapan government continue to enjoy a strong support especially from the urbanites and non-Malays, but its popularity among the Malays has dropped significantly.

Issues related to cost of living, the Malay rights and the sanctity of Islam being belittled continue to drain Pakatan Harapan’s popularity especially among the Malays who account for about 62% of the population.

The Opposition continue to fan racial and religious sentiments including issues related to the Royals, to sway Malay opinions against the government.

Pakatan Harapan lost in a few recent by-elections, largely in Malay-dominated areas as once foes to each other, Umno and PAS, had agreed to work together to oust the alliance which swept to a history victory 12 months ago.

Dr Mahathir also took aim at the Opposition for trying to use the racial cards to camouflage their past wrongdoing.

“While they have failed to prove that they are right, they turn their gun to the government and accuse that Pakatan Harapan is not taking good care of the sanctity of Islam and upholding the constitution,” Dr Mahathir said.

Dr Mahathir defended that the government had to spend RM6.23 billion to save the Federal Land Development Authority.

“Same with the damage to Lembaga Tabung Haji due to mismanagement. It will require  RM17.8 billion in fund injection by the government for a period of 10 years,” he said.

“People may be bored with the stories and reports related to the actions of the previous government. Although we are bored, the truths of the wrongdoing of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government under Najib have become a huge problem and disrupted the process to restore the nation and people’s wellbeing,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also outlined the efforts by the government including to fight corruption with the establishment of The National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption, while strengthening the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission institution.

The government has also been criticised for failing to live up to the promises made prior to May 9 general election.

But Dr Mahathir defended the new government’s 12-month performance, saying that about 39.01% of promises made in the manifesto were fulfilled as of April 30, 2019.

“It was measured based on the progress of 464 initiatives which are part of our policies and specific actions stated in each pledge.

“Fifty-three or 11.42% out of 128 initiatives have been implemented, while 283 initiatives or 60.99% are still at the planning stage.

“This performance showed an increase of 29.34% compared to 9.67% as of Dec 31, 2018,” he said.

Moving forward, Dr Mahathir said the government will introduce a new approach in developing the nation — calling it “Shared Prosperity”.

He said the approach would improve people’s purchasing power, eliminate income gap visible between groups, ethnic, territories and extreme disparity in supply chain.

“Shared Prosperity is an effort to make sure that Malaysia could continuously strive in line with equitable growth in each and every level of value chain, class, race and geography, so we can create a sense of harmony and stability among the people by 2030,” Dr Mahathir said.