GEORGE TOWN, Aug 5 – Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has described that this year’s National Day celebration will be more meaningful as Malaysians are not only celebrating the country’s independence but also rejoicing the liberation of a kleptocratic government.
He said it was also to celebrate the victory of the people who had sacrificed and been brave in saving the country from such a government.
“It was indeed the people who liberated themselves by having the courage to go out en masse to vote, rejecting the kleptocratic government. The people were not afraid despite many obstacles and threats.
“In the end, it was an unexpected victory. Not many countries can change the government without having riots and sacrificing lives … (This is) because the sacrifices of the people were so great that the previous government had to admit defeat.
“This is what we are celebrating today, the people’s victory,” he said in his speech at the launch of the ‘Merdeka Month’ and ‘Fly the Jalur Gemilang 2018’ events at Padang Kota Lama here last night.
Also present were his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo and Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
Dr Mahathir said the people deserve to be happy and express their joy by flying the national flag, Jalur Gemilang, nationwide to show to other countries that Malaysia had been saved by the people and was now in good hands.
He said the current government was still able to overcome various problems – including massive debts, poverty and declining trade – in a stable manner with the support of the people, despite being burdened following alleged abuse of power by leaders of the previous administration.
“We are not interested in seeking revenge. However, we cannot avoid taking action against those who have brought ‘disaster’ to this beloved country. We will hold firm on the rule of law although this process will take time.
“It is true that it will be easier and faster if the law is set aside or abused. However, we do not want to be cruel to anyone. We are giving priority to justice. This is our promise. We will hold to it even though that slows down the process of punishing those whom we know are guilty,” he said.
The prime minister also said it is the Pakatan Harapan-led government’s promise to work hard to reclaim Malaysia’s title as an “Asian Tiger”. However, Dr Mahathir hoped that the people would be patient and give the government a chance to revive the country without abusing the mandate given by the people or cheating.
He said the people would not only benefit from development but also enjoy employment and business opportunities, once the country was back on track.
“We will control the cost of living so that the money we earn will be able to buy more goods and services, than before. People will become happier due to the freedom of speech and press. Human rights will be enjoyed by all. People are free to criticise the government.
“They will no longer be subjected to additional taxes, freezing of bank accounts, demotion, termination of (employment) contract and other kinds of ‘abuse’ should they not support the government,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said this year’s National Day theme of “Sayangi Malaysiaku” (Love My Malaysia) was timely due to the people’s love for the country, and that they had saved the country from “kleptocracy”.
“Thank you to those who have contributed to Tabung Harapan Malaysia which proves that Malaysians are willing to sacrifice for the country. Be proud to fly the Jalur Gemilang anywhere whether at the house, car, building and wherever appropriate,” he added. — Bernama