Dr M: Budget goodies to make people forget about 1MDB scandal

Modified 31 Oct 2017, 3:13 am

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed the many goodies announced by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in Budget 2018 was aimed at making people forget about the 1MDB scandal.

"This is indeed his intention so that people will focus on the sweets given and forget about the 1MDB scandal.

"But this hope will not become a reality as the people cannot forget the 1MDB scandal and other scandals associated with Najib," Mahathir said in a video message uploaded by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu). 

Mahathir, who is also Pakatan Harapan and Bersatu chairperson, said it was customary to use the budget to influence the people ahead of a general election.

However, Mahathir described Budget 2018 as unprecedented.

"The presented budget is unusual, in that it excessively provides allocations which the country may not have the money to pay for," he said.

Mahathir expressed scepticism that Putrajaya will be able to deliver on the promises.

He claimed that the government wouldn't be able to afford them after the general election.

Last Friday, Najib tabled a budget of RM282.25 billion, the largest in the country's history and the first expansionary budget after two consecutive years of contraction.

Meanwhile, Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak criticised Mahathir for what he described as the former prime minister's lack of coherence and consistency.

"Mahathir said he does not know how the government is going to pay for the cost of running the country if all the government does is hand out benefits to the people.

"But then is this not what the opposition is grumbling about; that the government does not look after the financial needs of the people and that the people are suffering under the Barisan Nasional government?

"Then when the government takes care of the financial needs of the people in Budget 2018 Mahathir says he does not know where the money is going to come from and complains that the government will have to borrow more money," Salleh said in a blog posting.

Salleh added that while Harapan is claiming BN will not have the revenue to pay for its promises, it is the opposition that is seeking to forgo a large amount of revenue in its alternative budget.

"Is it not Harapan that said it wants to abolish all toll charges throughout Malaysia and abolish the Goods and Services Tax as well as many other forms of taxes?

"If this is done how will the government pay for development?" he said.

Salleh noted that the opposition claimed it will do this by reducing leakages and eliminating corruption but he questioned how it was able to quantify this.

"How did they come to the figure when they do not even know the details?

"Saying that the government will reduce taxes and then recover the lost taxes through savings is utter nonsense," he said.

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