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PUTRAJAYA, Dec 29 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government is currently on track with efforts to tackle the country’s debt and lower prices of goods, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairman said, however, it was taking some time for the government to handle the issues as PH had only been in power for seven months.
“Our debt is being dealt with well, and the administrative machinery has been cleaned and restored. Unfortunately, the people, especially the poor, are feeling the pressure of the high cost of living.
“We are trying to reduce the prices of goods. But this will take a little time. InsyaAllah the cost of living will go down,” he said during his speech at the opening of the party’s second Annual General Assembly at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) here tonight.
Also present were party president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, deputy president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir, Youth (Armada) chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, Srikandi chief Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Parti Warisan Sabah deputy president Datuk Darell Leiking, DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang and Amanah secretary-general Anuar Tahir.
Dr Mahathir said the country’s governance and economic situation were also sound, and that it was important to bring peace and stability to the people, as well as investors.
According to him, the PH government cannot spend money at will, including giving handouts to the people, as the debt of the previous government administration had to be settled to prevent the country from going bankrupt.
“The previous government gave free money to the people at random. We in Pakatan Harapan cannot afford it. A sizeable portion of government income has to be used to repay the debt with high interest rates. If the debt is not paid, we can become bankrupt.
“If the country goes bankrupt, all our income will be used to pay the debt. There will be no money to help the people. This is the catastrophe brought by the former government,” he said.
Touching on employment opportunities in the government and private sector, Dr Mahathir said discrimination against women would be eliminated, and more opportunities would be offered to them.
He said women could become successful if given the opportunity, as women were more serious than men, with some women entrepreneurs already millionaires, and in line with that, more opportunities and training would be given to the group.
“There are those among women who have become millionaires just by producing fish crackers, scarves and beauty products. Therefore, we will add funding sources, opportunities, licenses and contracts for women, including those in rural areas. We will also introduce new types of businesses and opportunities for them,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said the government would also give special incentives to the younger generation, especially in the agricultural and business sectors for using new technologies.
“The fact is that older generation has difficulty accepting new ways and technologies. To the contrary, it is easier for the younger ones to be moulded. Many among the younger generation are more trained and educated. Their experience may be less. But this can be overcome by exposure to contract work,” he said.
He pointed out that the agricultural and business sectors were important as the country relied heavily on imported goods and foods, even though these goods could be produced locally.
Over 3,000 delegates are in attendance at the three-day AGM which began yesterday, comprising 1,550 delegates from divisions across the country, as well as 800 delegates each from the Armada and Srikandi wings. — Bernama