Speaking at the opening Dash Resort in Langkawi on Sunday, November 25, Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad openly chastised his countrymen for laziness and preferring being given handouts rather than working. Furthermore, he warned that Malaysia’s economy would fall behind nearby poorer countries because of these traits.
The Malaysian Prime Minister called Malaysians out for depending on handouts such as the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) of the Barisan Nasional government rather than going to work. This has led to jobs going to foreign workers instead of to Malaysians.
Mahathir said, “We bring in foreign workers to do the jobs Malaysians do not want to do. The government collects taxes and levies from these foreign workers only to give to these Malaysians who think they have disabilities as financial assistance.”
The Malaysian Insight reported the Prime Minister predicted that Vietnam, despite having only recently emerged from a devastating war, would surpass Malaysia economically because its people work very hard.
“Vietnam will pull ahead of Malaysia because its people are very diligent.,” he said. “In Malaysia, people don’t want to work because the government gives them money.”
In August, the government started to lessen financial aid from BR1M and will end it completely, in order to reduce people’s dependence on it. Six years ago, BR1M was begun by former minister Najib Razak, purportedly to extend assistance to those in the lower income brackets. The current administration has decreased the previous living allowance assistance for next year’s budget from RM6.8 billion for 7.2 million recipients to RM5 billion (S$1.64 billion) for 4.1 million families.
Mahathir also said that the government must stop engaging in commercial activities, as its most important duty is to legislate and to enforce laws.
“The government has no expertise to do business and we will lose money. The private sector knows better how to make money. They have the ideas.”
He further explained that the government encourages businesses to do well since they would be receiving 36 percent of what businesses make. “That’s why we want people to be successful in business. We do not invest a single sen but we get 36% in return.”