Pakatan: Dr M’s financial advice too little, too late for BN 

(MMO) – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s advice for Putrajaya to tighten its belt has come too late, say Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs who predict a dire financial outlook for Malaysia unless the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government quickens its pace in carrying out comprehensive austerity measures.

It was because the former prime minister of 22 years was profligate with public money that the country is faced with government spending that’s potentially spiralling out of control, lawmakers from the three-party opposition pact said.

But they added there was no point in sniping at the 88-year-old now when the real issue at hand was for the present Najib administration to check financial wastage and monetary leaks to lower Malaysia’s sovereign debt, which now stands at an alarming 53 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP), just slightly below the government’s self-imposed debt ceiling of 55 per cent.

“As much as I think much of the spending is inherited from his time, the real issue is the government’s spending going out of control,” PKR’s Rafizi Ramli told The Malay Mail Online.

He said the lack of seriousness shown by Datuk Seri Najib Razak as the sixth prime minister and finance minister in controlling public spending is the real problem.

“They continue to harp over and over again on one or two billion ringgit of subsidies (for fuel), but these are marginal subsidies compared to many other items such as power production.

“I think it’s dishonest. Fixing the financial problems in Malaysia need to be taken as a whole package, and it has to start with the personal commitment of the leadership to show they are serious in tackling wastages and leakages,” the Pandan MP said.

Dr Mahathir on Friday posted in his blog,, that the government must be more prudent with its spending and whatever financial assistance is doled out, such as the 1Malaysia People’s Assistance (BR1M), must be “properly budgeted for”.

He said cash aid programmes like BR1M should be done more selectively, and should not become a crutch like the public’s dependence on fuel subsidies.

Dr Mahathir, who also held the finance portfolio, added that the impact of the recent 20 sen reduction in RON95 and diesel subsidies would only contribute to between 1 and 5 per cent inflation to the price of goods and services.

Oil-producing Malaysia had last week hiked up the pump prices for the widely-used grade of fuel as part of the government’s subsidy rationalisation programme introduced soon after Najib came into office in 2009.