PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad took a trip down memory lane on Wednesday night – the eve of Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) first anniversary in power – reflecting on both past and present issues faced by his administration.
Mahathir recalled how, when PH was in the opposition, “we had no idea what was going on” in the former Barisan Nasional (BN) government and, specifically, the state of their coffers.
“Only now, we realise how bad things are,” he said in an interview with TV1.
The PPBM chairman and Langkawi MP also commented on claims PH drafted its GE14 manifesto promises based on a whim, and not on what it actually wanted to achieve if it came to power.
“It’s not that we didn’t fulfil our promises but that we can’t fulfil our promises. This is because of certain reasons,” he said.
He said this was mainly because of the low amount of government funds available and the state of the government machinery, which he described as needing to be “cleansed” from top to bottom.
Mahathir, who was thrust back into the top office 15 years after he announced his retirement as the fourth prime minister, said his “breakthrough” moment this year was seeing that Malaysians are no longer burdened by corruption.
He also rubbished predictions that his government will be a one-term administration because some were “so used” to what the former administration supposedly gave them, adding that this was wrong.
He said that when he was prime minister before, many said the same thing as he was new to the game.
On coping with the rising cost of living, Mahathir said not all prices of goods have gone up since PH took control of Putrajaya. He said some liked to “pinpoint to these things” without being fair to PH.
Saying the government is making efforts to lower and stabilise the price of goods, he put the blame on middlemen for the situation. He gave an example of vegetables being sold.
“In Cameron Highlands, for example, they sell vegetables at 50 sen per kilo but (because of middlemen) in the market, it becomes RM7 per kilo.”
He also said PH is focused on seeing wages go up, which will dampen the effect of higher prices of goods.
On his recent comment that his Cabinet scored 5 out of 10 in his book, Mahathir said this is because most of the ministers in his administration do not have experience.
However, he said his Cabinet is on the right track.
Mahathir repeated his earlier statement that there is no need for a Cabinet reshuffle, adding that entirely new politicians are not needed to replace them.
At least his Cabinet has “one year’s experience now”, he said.
“If Cabinet members are replaced by people with no experience at all, then they will have to start from scratch, and it will be hard to ensure that they can do better than those who they replaced.”