Among others, he said, the government has launched the Shared Prosperity scheme outlining a clear path moving forward which some detractors may not be able to see.
“But for the government, the direction is clear. We don’t want just to recover and be prosperous. We want to share our wealth equitably,” Dr Mahathir said in a post titled ‘PH Government’ that appeared in his blog today.
To this end, he said, the government has initiated a new industrial plan, complemented by a new agricultural plan.
“We know the direction we are going. Outsiders may not. But we do. We are clear as to what we want to do and how we will do it. Plans may take a week or so to create but implementation will take much longer, at least two years or more. But the work has already begun,” he said.
For the observers it would seem that nothing is moving, he said, and used the adage ‘Rome was not built in one day’ to drive home the point that the initiatives laid out will take time to come to fruition.
“Give the government a little bit of time and participate fully in the Shared Prosperity policies, and in two years’ time you will realise that the direction of the government is right,” Dr Mahathir wrote.
He said that the accusation that the PH government is directionless is made by those who refuse to acknowledge reality.
“Let’s look at what it has done. Despite a huge debt of well over a trillion ringgit, it apparently has been able to retain the solvency of the country. The creditors are not suing the government. Indeed, some are even keen to lend more money at low rates. The government is clearly creditworthy. The debt has been reduced,” he said.
Dr Mahathir also drove home the point that politically the country is stable.
“Yes, there are some disturbances in a member of the ruling coalition. But this is normal. No one has tried to overthrow the government by a vote of no-confidence. They know it will not succeed,” he said. Turning to the economy, the prime minister underscored that it is still growing at a good rate for a country at this stage of development and that Malaysia still has the biggest savings, noting, among others, that Bank Negara’s reserves are very high – at RM400 billion plus.
Dr Mahathir said other funds such as Permodalan Nasional Bhd, Employees Provident Fund and some smaller funds add up to over RM1.5 trillion and that government-owned national oil company Petronas is doing well with more than RM100 billion income.
Despite all these, the prime minister acknowledged that the ringgit is depreciating.
“In many other countries, reserves of this size would guarantee the strength of the national currency. But the market apparently cannot believe this strength of the Malaysian finances and its currency,” he said.
Dr Mahathir stressed that the Malaysian economy and currency are strong.
He also wrote that Malaysia is recovering from the disasters caused by the previous kleptocratic government and is now enjoying better governance.
He said the PH took over from a kleptocratic government which had raped the nation for years, destroyed its finances, undermined its administrative agencies, abused its laws, borrowed well beyond the ceiling permitted, placed the country on the path to bankruptcy, made the people dependent on the government with bribes and generally undermined the moral of the people.
“Of course, a lot of people were happy to enjoy corrupt money and many illegal favours. They would like these bad practices to continue.
“But the majority of the people knew the sad state of the country and ensured that the corrupt government was overthrown,” the prime minister said.
Dr Mahathir said this was a miracle of sorts as those who took over were a “hodge-podge” coalition of four parties, together with another party outside the coalition “and even a person not linked in any way to the parties”.
Dr Mahathir noted that they eventually formed the government and seem to be working together, having formed a cabinet without any written agreement as to who takes what.
“This is the second miracle. The cabinet seems to work. At least they can meet, discuss and make decisions. Of course, many criticised their decisions. This is normal.
“No government can have the approval of everyone every time. The important thing is that this fragile cabinet is still functioning,” he said.