BUTTERWORTH: Malaysia was once a country that achieved many things, from sending students overseas to become doctors, to conquering the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest.
“Now we cannot do anything,” former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad lamented in his speech at the Pakatan Harapan (PH) nationwide “Jelajah Semarak” tour last night.
Addressing a strong crowd of around 3,000 people gathered at the Seberang Perai Municipal Council field in Kepala Batas here, Mahathir sighed as he recounted the country’s better days.
“Last time, if you are a graduate, a job awaits you. Now even medical graduates can’t find a job.
“It was easy to get a scholarship. We sent hundreds of students overseas so they could come back and serve the country.
“We used to say ‘Malaysia Boleh’. We could sail around the world, climb Mount Everest, we could develop the country,” the Pakatan Harapan chairman said, referring to the motivational slogan, or “Malaysia can do it” in English, which is a legacy of his 22-year long tenure as the head of the government.
“The only thing that ‘Malaysia Boleh’ now, is taking on more debt that it can’t pay back.”
He said if the government continued the way it is, pretty soon the country would end bankrupt, just like Greece.
Mahathir, who is also PPBM chairman, then referred to the debts incurred by state-owned 1MDB, and the firm’s delayed payments to International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).
“It’s embarrassing to have the whole world see that when it’s time to pay up our debts, we say ‘wait, wait, we haven’t stolen enough’.
“This is how Prime Minister Najib Razak is administrating the country,” Mahathir said.
He also pointed to the rising cost of living, which he claimed had seen businesses “folding up” and extra taxes imposed on the people.
The solution to all these problems is to unseat Najib and his Barisan Nasional (BN) government, according to Mahathir.
“At one time, it was okay to just get rid of Najib and keep the BN government. But now the BN government is already too damaged.
” BN leaders are involved in corruption, and BN thinks if they pay the people, they can get the votes.
“But let me remind you that as long as BN is around, we will suffer.”