Malaysiakini News

PM: Interest from gov't debt alone can cripple M'sia

Bernama  |  Published:  |  Modified:

The Pakatan Harapan government did not hesitate to fulfill the key promises in its 14th General Election manifesto within the first 100 days of its administration despite the restrictions it faced, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Prime Minister said Harapan had found that the damage done by the previous BN government was far worse than what had been anticipated.

In presenting the developments over the past 100 days in a broadcast to the nation tonight, Mahathir noted that the Harapan electoral victory was achieved without bloodshed or clashes between the people and the authorities, as had been seen in some other countries.

He said the previous government had intimidated all government departments and used them to conduct its party activities and not to administer the country well.

“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. Talking about the wrongs of the previous government will take days. Therefore, we will focus on the promises made in our (election) manifesto,” he said.

Dr Mahathir, who at 93 is the oldest prime minister in the world, said the Harapan government started by abolishing the Goods & Services Tax (GST) and moved to restore the Sales and Service Tax (SST) which is awaiting parliamentary approval.

At the same time, he said, the government was on track to fulfill the other promises:

  • The petrol prices have been maintained, except for RON97 which is less used.
     
  • The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) scheme for housewives was started on Aug 15, 2018.
     
  • Comprehensive studies have begun on mega projects awarded to other countries.
     
  • The implementation of the High-Speed Rail (MyHSR) was deferred on May 30, 2018.
     
  • The implementation of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Phase Three was cancelled on May 30, 2018.
     
  • The implementation of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) was postponed on June 3, 2018.
     
  • The Multi-Product Pipeline (MPP) and Trans Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP) were deferred on July 5, 2018.
     
  • The process has begun to standardise the minimum wage across the country and raise the minimum wage in stages over five years.
     
  • A Cabinet memorandum is being prepared on the introduction of the Skim Peduli Sihat healthcare scheme which provides a RM500 funding for basic treatment at registered private clinics for the B40 group.
     
  • A Royal Commission of Inquiry was not set up in the cases of 1MDB, Felda, Mara and Tabung Haji because investigations by several agencies are ongoing and the courts will decide on these cases.

- the investigation into 1MDB by a special team was started on May 21, 2018;

- the investigations into Felda, Mara and Tabung Haji have also started;

- the leadership at 1MBD was revamped on June 28, 2018; and

- the leadership at Felda and Tabung Haji were revamped on May 14, 2018.

  • It has been agreed that a Special Cabinet Committee be set up to expedite the review and implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
     
  • On the PTPTN loans, the abolition of the blacklist was undertaken from May 24, to June 8, 2018, and involved 429,945 borrowers. The number of outstanding students who were given discounts or absolved of debts up to May 31, 2018, totalled 51,272 borrowers involving a sum of RM1.56 billion.
     
  • In the effort to abolish the unreasonable debts forced onto Felda settlers, three mechanisms were identified, namely:

a) an incentive to write off a portion of the extreme replanting debt through the provision of RM300 million in funds for five years;

b) writing off the replanting debt of RM5,000 per settler with the Felda system, involving 90,418 settlers at a cost of RM452 million; and

c) an incentive to write off a portion of the remaining FGV share loan, involving 77,972 settlers at a cost of RM103 million.



The prime minister also said that the government had fulfilled the promise to resolve the citizenship problem of members of the Indian community and other communities aged 60 and above and holding the red identity card. Nearly 3,500 members of the Indian community would be issued with blue identity cards.

Besides the manifesto pledges to be met in 100 days, several other matters were achieved which reflected a more comprehensive or holistic approach, he said.

Dr Mahathir said an opposition MP, Ronald Kiandee, was elected the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, which showed the willingness of the ruling party to be scrutinised by opposition MPs.

The Auditor-General’s Report on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was no longer classified under the Official Secrets Act, he said, adding that the Harapan government practised an open government policy and would not conceal any report on crimes committed by anyone, including members of the Cabinet.

In the effort to reform the institutions which made up the pillars of the country, Mahathir said, a committee had been set up and the almost 300 proposals it had put forth had been accepted.

“We also succeeded in securing a pardon for (PKR president-elect) Anwar Ibrahim as we had promised.

“The anti-corruption and integrity institutions have been strengthened, and all members of the government and elected representatives have to declare their assets,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said the government’s commitment was to achieve the principle of wanting Malaysia to be known for integrity and not corruption, and it had implemented various improvements towards this objective.

In conclusion, the Prime Minister said what the government of today held on to was respecting and appreciating the will of the people so that the rule of law, an administration in accordance with the law, was enforced.

“All that I have stated is not in the defence of this new government but to share with the people what we have been working on since May 9 this year.

“Although many of the government leaders do not have administrative experience, over the past 100 days they have successfully fulfilled promises and demonstrated their administrative abilities.

“As normal human beings, we cannot avoid making mistakes. We are willing to be reprimanded and we will not react aggressively against those who criticise,” he said.

-Bernama

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