Government not uncaring: Malaysian PM

PUTRAJAYA (Bernama) – The Malaysian government is not uncaring in its provision of cash assistance to the people, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, explaining that instead, the new administration did not want such assistance to bring about bigger financial problems for the country.

He said the government needed to expend efforts in ensuring that the security of the country, particularly its financials, was preserved.

“If we use money that is borrowed or stolen to show that we care, in the end, we will face a huge problem,” said Dr Mahathir during his speech at the second meeting held this year between the premier and the government officers.

Bearing the theme of leadership and transformation, the event was attended by 1,500 officers from grades 41 to 48.

Dr Mahathir who observed that the rakyat was inclined to rely on financial assistance from the government, said he was prompted to make the clarification to avoid the misconception that the government was not caring like the previous administration which had provided cash assistance.

The previous government, he said, had constantly increased the salaries of government servants by as much as 25 per cent to get their support without taking account of the income generated from taxation thus reducing funding for development.

There were two types of expenditure in the country, comprising operational and development expenditure, Dr Mahathir said, explaining that “if too much is spent on operations, then there is not enough for development so we will have to borrow money and the country’s financials will be in a deficit”. According to the premier, one of the problems which was preventing the quick recovery of the country, was the borrowing undertaken by the previous government amounting to RM1 trillion and this had caused tax collections to be used to repay loans as well as the interest attached to such loans, until today.

Dr Mahathir called on government servants to provide support and loyalty to the new government “except for a situation where the new government is also involved in stealing and bribery”.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (centre) waves the Jalur Gemilang at the Government Officers’ Meeting with Prime Minister Session 2 at Seri Siantan Hall, Putrajaya Corporation Complex. – PHOTO: BERNAMA