We over-promised, Dr M tells ruling MPs

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PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says Pakatan Harapan (PH) is having a hard time fulfilling its election pledges as it made “too many promises”, believing it would not win the May 9 polls.

According to Singapore’s Straits Times (ST), Mahathir said this at a closed-door meeting with MPs from PH and Parti Warisan Sabah on Monday night.

“Actually, we did not expect to win, and we made a thick manifesto with all kinds of promises.

“We need to make sacrifices to fulfil our promises. If we can’t fulfil them, we will need a good reason that is acceptable to the people,” Mahathir was quoted as saying by the daily which cited several sources who attended the meeting.

PH has come under fire from critics who say the new government failed to fulfil its manifesto pledges within its first 100 days in power, as promised.

But Mahathir’s deputy Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail yesterday defended the coalition, saying it should not have to apologise for failing to meet its deadline on some pledges.

“It isn’t easy because when we took over, we did not have enough information to identify how deep the problems were.

“I’m not giving excuses. I know that we should not stop at the fact that we have not met our target, but we are trying very hard,” she said.

PH has managed to fulfil several of its pledges, such as abolishing the goods and services tax (GST) and introducing the i-Suri/Employees Provident Fund (EPF) programme for housewives.

Its other pledges were to have targeted petrol subsidies, eliminate Felda settlers’ debts, streamline minimum wages, return the status of Sabah and Sarawak according to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), suspend PTPTN higher education fund repayments for those earning below RM4,000, have a healthcare scheme for all, open investigations into scandals, and review mega projects.

According to the sources, Mahathir also gave the example of PH’s promise to give the opposition leader an equal position to that of a minister.

He said PH had made the promise without expecting to win the general election.

“But we won, and now it feels uncomfortable to give the opposition leader an equal rank to a minister,” he was quoted as saying.