PUTRAJAYA: Some leaders in Pakatan Harapan (HP) behave like the opposition with a socialist mindset, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
He said some leaders viewed capitalist businessmen as “pests who needed to be opposed”.
“Among those who are in the government, are those who were previously in the opposition. At this juncture, they are still opposing.
“But when we become the government, we can no longer condemn the capitalist system, because this system enriches us,” he said.
He further defended the businessmen for creating jobs and contributing to the economy.
“These businessmen are the ones investing with their capital and setting up businesses, which in turn creates job opportunities for Malaysians and they pay taxes.
“Without that, the federal government will not have enough money to govern the states and the country,” he said in his speech at the opening ceremony of the Johor government’s retreat session at the Pulse Grande Hotel here today.
Also present were other Pakatan Harapan (PH) Cabinet ministers, Johor Menteri Besar Osman Sapian as well as other Johor MPs and state assemblymen.
A leader in the government can’t condemn entrepreneurs and businessmen, the PH chairman said.
“Some of us view them as capitalists who oppress the people. But if they are not successful in generating large profits, we cannot collect taxes from them.
“We must help them to be successful and generate profits as 26% of it will go to the government as corporate tax,” he said.
Mahathir said the people and the state governments stood to benefit from job opportunities and the payments of various types of taxes.
“That is why we need to change our mindsets. We are now the government. We need to cooperate and establish good relations with entrepreneurs and businessmen so that they can succeed and the government can collect taxes from them.
“We need to remember this as we are now the government,” he added.
On another note, Mahathir called on members of his administration to safeguard racial and religious sensitivities.
“We must be aware that we are a multiracial party. We must take care of the sensitivities of different races.
“Let us not slight the feelings of other races with harsh words or criticisms, whether Muslim or non-Muslim,” he said.
The Langkawi MP said if there were problems with relations, they needed to refer to the government first, and not air their opinions to the masses.
“This is not our way. Our way is to discuss and find solutions. This requires compromise,” he said.
Mahathir recalled how he had once criticised former prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman for being too compromising.
“Now, I am the one who is making compromises,” he quipped.