Speak in one voice, Daim reminds ministers

PETALING JAYA: Former finance minister Daim Zainuddin today urged ministers not to provide contradictory statements on issues when speaking in public.

Daim noted that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) pact was new, with the leaders working together for the first time.

“They will have their own views. By right, if they have all agreed on the views, they should just stick to it.

“Unfortunately, there are times when contradictory statements come out. People then wonder what is happening.

“They need to understand. We can give our views. But when we have agreed, everyone must accept the view. This is the way of the government.

“There are leaders who offer differing views. Because they are from different parties. They cannot do that.

“When you are in the government, you must speak in one voice,” he said in an exclusive interview with Astro Awani aired tonight.

Daim, who is chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP), said the government must cater to all walks of society — the rural and the urban, the rich and poor, those from Sabah and Sarawak.

“Our society is very complex. It is multiracial, multireligious. There are also differences in opinion.

“For instance, when you talk about a free and independent judiciary and Parliament. These are important to NGOs. These are important to foreign investors.

“But not so for the rural folk. To them, what is important is the cost of living. They all have their own needs and views,” he said.

Daim also said government bailouts are necessary if they are done in the interest of the people.

“Government bailouts are nothing new. The whole world does it.

“When the problem involves the masses, at times we have to bail them out. For instance, if there had been no bailout for Tabung Haji, it would have turned into a sensitive issue.

“After the bailout, now it has started making profits again,” he said.

Daim said PH, upon taking over the government, found many government agencies facing financial problems.

“Each agency spent billions in ringgit. So if this was not corrected, the people will get mad. If you fix it, the opposition gets angry.

“The ratings agencies also get angry. They ask: Why the bailout?”