PUTRAJAYA: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, just seven months into its administration, is gaining confidence that its efforts to address corruption and abuse of power are beginning to bear fruit.
Also showing a positive result is its move to allow freedom of expression.
Disclosing this, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government, with its fairly new members of the Cabinet, should be given the opportunity to improve its performance.
“There are not many complaints about corruption. There are no reports. The people feel relieved now. That’s a success. We give the people confidence. They can do business; they are free to move around; they can befriend anyone and talk to anyone,” he said in an interview with selected media organisations at his office here.
Dr Mahathir said PH had been able to properly organise the government with five parties represented in the Cabinet, a task not easy to accomplish. PH comprises Bersatu, PKR, DAP and Amanah. Three representatives from the PH-friendly Parti Warisan Sabah are also in the Cabinet. Two Warisan representatives are also deputy ministers.
“We were not all as one in the first place. I am from outside (the PH). I was accepted as the Prime Minister. No one can deny that we have a functioning government. We have made a lot of progress. Although it is difficult, the government of today is functioning,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said that though the government and country were facing a shortage of funds, the government administers well to the extent of giving confidence to outsiders.
“Foreigners are hailing our achievements, but we (Malaysians) most probably want all problems resolved in six or seven months. How can there be no problems when we have a debt of RM1 trillion
“If one’s salary is RM4,000 but one has a debt of RM50,000, can there be no problems Surely, there will be. We did not have so much debt previously. During my time (as the fourth prime minister), we did not have so much debt.
“Similarly during the time of (third prime minister) Tun Hussein Onn, (second prime minister) Tun Abdul Razak (Hussein) and (first prime minister) Tunku Abdul Rahman. We had debt but to the extent that we could afford to repay. This (current) debt is to the extent that we are unable to repay,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said much of the government revenue was used to repay the debt, so much so that not much money was left for development and to assist the people.
“As for the question of finance, we believe we can reduce the huge amount of debt. We will help the poor but we will not give aid to everyone just because we need their support.
“We are short of money but the country has introduced a bigger (2019) budget than that for 2018. We have taken all kinds of measures. We cannot disclose everything that we have done for the people.
“If we reveal some of the things that we have done, the market will react very negatively. We have to take care of the market too. We have to ensure that foreign direct investment and local investment will go on. We have to be tactful so that we are not affected by anything negative,” he said.