PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak today criticised his successor, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, over remarks that subsidies have rendered the rakyat unable to think and fend for themselves.
Najib said he had just yesterday talked about the need for the government of the day to think of the problems being faced by the people and increase efforts to aid them.
But today, Najib said, the government was hinting at halting subsidies, on the assumption that these had rendered people unable to think, made them lazy and unable to be independent.
“The past Barisan Nasional government never said handouts or subsidies such as the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) will be able to replace people’s income or wages.
“The handouts are a social safety net, to help them supplement what is lacking in their daily income.
“Is this what he (Mahathir) means by the people unable to think for themselves?” he questioned in a Facebook post.
The Pekan MP then related the true story of a recipient of a subsidised sewing machine who said she could now do business from home and was happy she did not need to work nights.
“Is this what the government means by subsidies rendering rakyat unable to fend for themselves?
“The prices of goods are going up, the economy is getting worse, the value of the ringgit is dropping.
“At the same time, the national income is dwindling as a result of the goods and services tax (GST) being replaced with the sales and services tax (SST).
“Every day, the people are being insulted. What has the government of the day done for the country, for Malaysians?”
Mahathir had said incentives and subsidies are bad for Malaysians and they could even lose the ability to think one day if they become dependent on such aid.
The prime minister said the mentality of relying on incentives was wrong, made worse by the practices of the previous government.
“This is what the previous government did. They gave money to people; you don’t have to work. You don’t work also, you get RM500.
“If Malaysians become like that, very soon they can’t even think, they can’t even move, they can’t even do anything by themselves because they will always be looking for a subsidy,” he told reporters after launching the National Policy on Industry 4.0 here today.