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PUTRAJAYA, Dec 30 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the previous Barisan Nasional government discriminated against some Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) members and denied them of livelihoods.
The PPBM chairman said the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition was now in a position to reverse this and cautioned against assuming that favouritism was involved if his party members are awarded government contracts.
Dr Mahathir, who is the prime minister, said this was because his administration was moving towards open tenders for awards and PPBM members were qualified to win the bids.
“If they get a contract, don’t assume that it is because they are from the party. They are equally capable and should be winning because now there would be no discrimination as practised by the last government,” he told reporters at a press conference after the party’s second annual general meeting.
Dr Mahathir conceded that there was no way to ensure this would not be abused, before saying that this was also the purpose of law enforcement agencies such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
“If they do anything wrong, you can be sure MACC will descend upon them doesn’t matter what ranking,” he said.
Earlier, PPBM vice-president Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman had signalled to his party to ensure junior leaders are allocated government contracts.
He said the arrangement was necessary to allow PPBM division chiefs to perform the tasks needed to keep the party in power.
His remarks came notably after PPBM Armada chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman criticised party members who still clung onto the politics of patronage that is a signature of rival Umno.
Abdul Rashid, who is a former Election Commission chairman, asserted that PPBM could not defend its current position now as funds were not reaching grassroots leaders.