KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — Pakatan Harapan (PH) will not seek revenge against corrupt politicians if the federal Opposition comes into power but will instead let the law run its course, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
Dr Mahathir, a former prime minister who was last weekend declared as the four-party PH pact’s prime minister-designate, said those suspected of being corrupt will have their guilt or innocence determined by the courts in accordance with the country’s laws.
“We will respect rule of law, it is not our intention to take revenge on them, we will hold on to rule of law.
“If the laws say those who steal have to be brought to court and the court will decide if it’s true or not and deliver penalties, that is our way. It is not our way to oppress certain people like now,” the 92-year-old said in his first-ever Policy Talk broadcast “live” on his official Facebook account this morning.
Dr Mahathir was responding to a comment from a citizen, who expressed hope that PH would ensure all ministers go through a forensic audit and seize all assets obtained through corruption and return them to Malaysians, if it won federal power.
Dr Mahathir also said PH would reject a corruption culture if it takes over Putrajaya.
“We will eradicate the culture of ‘cash is king’, which legitimises bribery. Bribery is haram. It is our desire to reject what is haram and replace with what is halal,” he said.
The words “haram” and “halal” in the Islamic context means forbidden and permissible respectively.
Dr Mahathir criticised a number of policies and measures by the current administration, including the annual cash handouts under the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) which he said was not adequate to help the low-income group cope with rising living costs.
He criticised the federal government’s move to help Malaysians cope with rising living costs through the increase of wages, saying that the hike in civil servants’ pay and the hike in minimum wages that the private sector has to implement was instead backfiring.
Living costs instead continue to rise due to the income hike as rising business costs drive up the prices of goods and services, he said.
In the same session, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia should cut down its reliance on foreign labour, claiming that the migrant workers were robbing Malaysians of job opportunities and would also cause an outflow of ringgit from the country due to their remittance of their wages to their home country.
He said however that a PH government will find ways to solve problems faced by local industries that need migrant workers and hear out local businessman, noting that the migrant workers would not be sent off in one sweep.
He also said it was better for Malaysia to not have foreign direct investment that relies fully on migrant workers that would again send their wages home, arguing that the country should instead choose foreign investments that would rely more on local labour that would be trained in fields such as IT.
By being selective about foreign direct investments, Malaysia would increase job opportunities and income levels for the locals and would also be able to control the outflow of the ringgit, he said.
“This is the policy that should be used by us, so Malaysia can get maximum returns from foreign direct investment,” Dr Mahathir said.