PETALING JAYA: A former newspaper editor has accused the government of having technically run out of money and suggested it could be “fiddling with technicalities to hide the truth”.
A Kadir Jasin, a former chief editor of the New Straits Times Press, said prime minister Najib Razak’s “cockeyed high-income policy and pseudo transformation” of the government had caused untold damage to the economy and brought misery to the people.
He cited the government’s minimum-wage policy, carried out despite many employers lacking the ability to pay the prescribed rates, and said: “For this reason alone, he is no longer fit to continue as the Prime Minister”.
Kadir, a supporter of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his new Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, urged opposition parties to put aside their differences and concentrate on ousting the Barisan Nasional from power so that the necessary political and economic reforms could be undertaken.
He said the opposition objective at the next general elections) should be the defeat of the BN. “Anything less is unacceptable and ineffective,” he said.
Otherwise, he said, opposition politicians “risked being condemned by the people for missing this golden opportunity”.
The minimum wage policy, enforced on July 1, sets a floor level of RM1,000 a month in the Peninsula, and RM920 in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.
Kadir said he had written in his column at Sinar Harian that the government’s revenue might have fallen below its operating expenditure. “My assertion has neither been challenged nor clarified,” he said, pointing out that allocations for education and health had been reduced and development projects delayed.
He noted that the Employees’ Provident Fund had disclosed that its investment income for the second quarter of 2016 had declined by 26 percent to RM8.44 billion.
He said neither Mohd Najib’s removal nor the reformation of the institutions would be possible without the Barisan Nasional being removed from the a seat of power.
The opposition should position themselves as the future government and behave likewise. “Enough of partisanship and jingoism,” he said. “They have to band together to convince the people that they are better than the BN.”