100 DAYS | After avoiding confrontation with BN since the May 9 polls, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad tonight rained criticism over the former ruling coalition's penchant for stoking hatred and for racking up bad debt.
"After losing, the BN still tried to complicate the situation by harping on racial and religious politics, and even attempted to drag in the rulers so as to incite hatred against the Pakatan Harapan government.
"Every appointment to key positions in the government was condemned in the name of race and religion. They forget that when they appointed officers, they had emphasised undivided support for their party.
"The laws they formulated were aimed at making them invulnerable and suppressing their adversaries for no reason. The newspapers and media owned by them were used to cover up their misconduct and lies," said Mahathir during a pre-recorded message aired on television channels at 8.30pm.
Mahathir said his administration found that all government departments were intimidated by the previous administration and compelled civil servants into promoting BN.
"Their debt totalled a trillion ringgit, a figure unheard of before. But, arrogantly, they have denied that they had done such damage.
"Unashamedly, they admitted that the... millions of ringgit (seized) were for their party. How they came into so much money was never explained," he said.
Cash is no longer king
Mahathir said that his administration has destroyed the "philosophy of cash is king", in reference to his oft-repeated claim that this was the cornerstone of his predecessor Najib Abdul Razak's rule.
"Cash only becomes king when one has a lot of it. For a political party to have such a large amount of money, there is no other way than for the party to have stolen it.
"The huge burden left behind by the previous government is the trillion ringgit debt. Just repaying the interest can bankrupt us, what more repaying the principal sum," he said.
Mahathir said that through the "extremely strong spirit of the people", Najib's "kleptocratic government" was defeated and the events of May 9 would go down in history.
"This success will surely go down in the historical records of the country as a victory beyond comparison.
"Some consider this victory as a miracle, more so when it was achieved without bloodshed or clashes between the people and the authorities, as we have seen around the world," he said.
Zero tolerance for corruption
Mahathir said that a law to regulate funding for political purposes was in the works, as well as a policy on gifts and donations to members of the civil service.
"The government has decided to improve the mechanism pertaining to the acceptance of gifts, entertainment and payment by members of the administration.
The definition of members of the administration is expanded to also include the prime minister and deputy prime minister. They also have to report the acceptance of gifts, entertainment and payment," he said.
He vowed not to restrict the press but warned that press freedom does not extend to efforts to provoke discord among Malaysia's many races.
"The government believes that in the future, regardless of which party rules or who becomes the prime minister and ministers, the consolidation of the institutions will ensure that there is no corruption, abuse of power and theft of money and public property and, if these happen, they will not escape legal action.
"And this is what the government of today holds on to, respecting and appreciating the will of the people so that the Rule of Law, an administration in accordance with the law, is enforced," he said.