'Under Najib, many became thieves': PM Dr Mahathir

Veena Babulal

ALOR STAR: Your days are numbered.

This was the message delivered by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today to those from the previous administration who had broken the law with impunity.

Dr Mahathir said that there was so much rot in the government, brought on by his predecessor and one-time protégé Datuk Seri Najib Razak, that everyone under him “became a thief.”

“When Najib became a thief, everyone under him became a thief.

“Government officers made RM200,000 a month. Where did (the money) come from? It was all stolen money.

“(And) some government officers were given RM300 million for projects – but pocketed RM100 million.

“Those who (committed these crimes) will have their comeuppance. Malaysia has its laws,” said the Bersatu chairman at the Jelajah Malaysia Baru event here.

Also in attendance was Deputy Prime Minister and outgoing PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail; Defence Minister and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu; and Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.

"Najib stole money and gave to people (so often) that it was almost like (regular) income for them. They could go for free haj and they didn’t even have to (work for it).

"People ask us if we will still give them money. Yes, we could – if you allow us to steal," said Dr Mahathir, in an allusion to his desire to discontinue the BR1M programme.

A news portal had earlier quoted the prime minister as saying that 7.2 million BR1M recipients are in for a shocker, as Putrajaya plans to slowly reduce the payouts before ending them altogether.

The portal also quoted Dr Mahathir as blaming the Najib administration for "spoiling" the people; and that the rakyat should stop depending on the government and believing that they are entitled to money without doing any work.

According to the portal, Dr Mahathir said that the Malaysian government wants to create more jobs, businesses and educational opportunities.

Among other things, loans would be given to those keen on going into entrepreneurship or business, he said.

"During my visit to China, I found that we can learn much from them. They were once upon a time more backward than us, but now they are leading. Some, like Jack Ma, can make billions in a day.

"But what is important to the government is not just the (general) economy, but the people’s economy. We want to raise the income of Malaysians so that they can get rich, and we as a nation can become rich by taxing them.

"If people are poor, the government also becomes poor, because we would need to come up with measures to raise their livelihoods," he said, in an apparent dig at Najib’s administration which reported high Gross Domestic Product figures amidst skyrocketing costs of goods. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd