PETALING JAYA, Dec 8 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today made a cheeky comeback to critics who labelled his administration as a “U-turn government”.
In a press conference here using veiled replies, the Langkawi MP said that turnarounds under his governance were only done if necessary, adding that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Cabinet was not perfect though it has been trying to correct many things.
“Sometimes when we go the wrong way, we turn around, but only if necessary.
“We are not perfect people. Although most of us are angels, but even angels sometimes make mistakes. So when angels makes mistakes, they turn around. So you say we shouldn’t? We will not lah. We will obey you,” Dr Mahathir cheekily replied, courting laughter.
He was speaking to the media after attending the PH presidential council meeting here.
The PH government has come under fire for backpedalling on its election promises, namely its handling of the PTPTN student loan repayment scheme and the reversal of a moratorium on several security laws the coalition once called repressive when they were in the Opposition.
PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan announced recently that his agency will garnish the wages of borrowers earning above RM2,000 monthly at tiered rates ranging from 2 per cent to 15 per cent.
The announcement also follows the PH coalition’s decision to break its previous pledge for federal student loan takers to defer repayment until they begin earning over RM4,000 a month.
The proposal drew criticism from both sides of the political divide as well as from employers and employees, causing the Education Ministry to suspend the move pending public consultation.
Last week, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said that the government chose to lift a freeze on several controversial security laws because of concern over the threat to national security, public order and race relations.
He sought to assure the public that the government will only use these laws in exceptional cases, after Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the Cabinet had decided to withdraw the moratorium on the Prevention of Crime Act (Amendment) 2017 (Poca), Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota), Sedition Act 1948 and Security Offences Special Measures Act (Sosma) following the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple riot in Subang on November 26.