TELUK INTAN, Apr 18 – Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has hit out at former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for having made four U-turns in his statements and blaming the economy for the winding up of his bakery. The Prime Minister said Dr Mahathir had changed his statements on the closure of The Loaf four times in two weeks and put the blame on the government.
“He does not listen to anyone anymore and says one thing today and another the next day, as in the case of his bakery when he made four statements in two weeks. At first, he said the bakery belongs to him, then he said it is not his, after which he said he wants to sell it and, lastly, he admits that it’s his.
“At the Registrar of Companies, it is stated that he has 10 million shares (in the bakery) and holds a 51% equity. Let’s not play politics like this. Do not make baseless accusations. Never mind, that’s between him and God,” he said. Najib spoke at the ground-breaking of the 1Malaysia People’s Housing (PR1MA) project comprising 957 residential units at Batu 4, Jalan Changkat Jong here today.
Also present were Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, who was the Teluk Intan MP in the last parliament, and PR1MA CEO Datuk Abdul Mutalib Alias. Although Najib did not mention Dr Mahathir by name, he was clearly referring to the former prime minister’s statements following the winding up of 12 outlets of The Loaf bakery in the country.
“Someone opens a bakery, setting up 12 outlets in 12 years and then says the government has not managed the national economy well. Other bakeries have survived, such as RotiBoy and Gardenia. Even the business of the Mastan Ghani ‘mee rebus’ in Teluk Intan has progressed. Is the government to be blamed if one closes shop or customers do not patronise the shop?
“Perhaps, the outlets were not in suitable locations, maybe the bread was not tasty, maybe the price was too high. Maybe there are other reasons. Ironically, the country’s economy has enjoyed positive growth,” he said. Najib said Malaysia’s success resulted in the revaluation of its GDP growth thrice last year by the World Bank, reflecting that the national economy was on track and growing rapidly.
Najib said no country except Malaysia had its GDP growth evaluated thrice in a year and it was predicted to achieve a growth of 5.8% but when the accounts were closed, the growth registered was 5.9%. “For the first quarter of this year, the World Bank said it was raising the predicted 5.2% to 5.4%,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that yesterday the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) forecast that the GDP growth would increase from 5.4% to 5.5%. He said that if the economy was bad, there would be no development, for example, the UPSI branch campus here and the almost 1,000 units of PR1MA houses planned for Teluk Intan.
Najib also said that the opposition pact had condemned the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) all along, saying it was a form of bribery, but has now changed its mind to emulate such aid in its election manifesto so as to garner the support of voters. He said a growing economy enabled the government to announce higher BR1M payments and consider applications for additional projects. — Bernama