KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 – The Pakatan Harapan government is more concerned about the people’s welfare than the country achieving fantastic Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, says former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin.
“There is no point even if the GDP is at 10%, people are suffering, Pakatan Harapan has the people’s interest at heart. This (GDP) is of no use, the lower income are clamouring for exorbitant prices to come down.
“The people are of utmost interest to us, we are not here to show off to the world, the other world, the people chose us, we must take care of them,” he said in an interview over TV3’s Buletin Utama. The chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons also said that the previous Barisan Nasional government never cared for the people.
“When the price of goods were spiralling, the government could not be bothered, instead they chided the people by saying that they were not living in Singapore where the cost of living was even higher. We live in Malaysia,” said the 80-year old Daim who was once the economic advisor to the government in the 90’s.
Inflation was said to be about 3% for eight consecutive years but the people refused to believe this because the cost of goods and services kept increasing. “People laughed, when they looked at the price of things, they were expensive, how could inflation be at 3%,” he quipped.
When Malaysia’s was going through a crisis (financial) in 1986 and 1998, Malaysians did not complain, he said. (That’s because) Tun Mahathir told me to give importance and priority to the people.
“Look after the people, that was his command. In 1986, we also reduced the salaries of ministers and we are doing it again. We want the people to sacrifice and the prime minister needs to sacrifice first,” said Daim.
The new government, he added, will manage the economy well. “And, how to manage the economy well? Reduce debt, if possible don’t get into debts, show (economic) growth,” said the diminutive tycoon. — Bernama