PUTRAJAYA, Aug 29 — As Pakatan Harapan (PH) approaches its second year in power and with the National Day around the corner, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today conceded the general sentiment on the ground now is more pessimistic if compared to the same period last year.
He acknowledged that people were in a happier mood during last year’s Merdeka celebrations, as they were still reeling in joy after overthrowing the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government at the 14th general elections.
“Well, at that time they were enjoying the removal of the previous government and they didn’t look at who was making what speech, whether one race is being neglected or another race is being influenced.
“All these things did not happen at that time, all they were interested in was to overthrow the government and they were happy,” he told reporters after a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia meeting here.
Dr Mahathir explained the general unhappiness could be due to the fact that there are still unfulfilled promises that PH have yet to accomplish.
“Now they want to see the results they expect, but it is not so easy to achieve these results, because many of these things we promised seems were made without proper information as to the problems [that exists].
“For example, the money owed by the government, we never realised it is more than RM1 trillion,” he added during a press conference in Perdana Leadership Foundation.
Dr Mahathir also took a swipe at BN, saying PH did not run the country by undermining the thinking of the people to convince them to be reliant on the government for their wellbeing.
“We cannot give them back the money. For example, people expect bachelors to be paid RM450; we don’t have the money, we don’t have the money for other things that were given freely in order to win support.
“We are not like that and we cannot implement those things, simply because we don’t have the money,” he added.
Dr Mahathir was referring to the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M), a cash aid programme that began under Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s time as PM.
PH have since implemented their version of the cash aid programme, called Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH), which is dispersed based on accumulative household income.