Pakatan Harapan’s biggest success so far is being able to stay united as a pact despite numerous differences of opinion, said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Dr Mahathir praised his administration, saying it has achieved a lot of success after Pakatan Harapan formed the government.
Brushing off critics of his administration which celebrates 18 months in power today, Dr Mahathir was in defiant mood, touting the many successes of his government.
“Generally, we can achieve a lot of success. After the general election, we could take over the government without problems. In other countries when there is a change, the incumbent government is always rioting, holding street demonstrations, strikes, etc. It can even go to the extent of civil war,” he told reporters in Putrajaya yesterday.
“But this time we took it in a safe way despite a bit of delay in appointing me as the prime minister. There was an attempt to form an alternative government. But that is not happening. They tried, but it didn’t happen.”
“During the election many frauds took place, but despite the many frauds the Harapan triumph was clear to a large majority so it could not be challenged.”
He cited the case of former Batu MP PKR’s Tian Chua who was denied a chance to defend his seat at the election but has since been cleared to run.
The prime minister also brushed off talk that his government was divided.
“The Cabinet is functioning well, and we do have our arguments, but we can sit together and come to a consensus. That’s why it’s been a year and a half since we took over and there have been no issues.
“There may be arguments outside of Cabinet but in Cabinet – even though I’m ready to punch whoever’s fighting with me but no one dares – everyone agrees with each other,” said the 94-year-old.
“In the machinery of administration, we have achieved great success. We have eliminated bribery-tainted people, for example, and replaced them with new officers who are quick to take over and perform their duties as expected,” he added.
He cited the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 as an official policy of the government to ensure the welfare of the people.
“Overseas, we are well received. Our representatives participate in negotiations with other countries. Our voice is heard.
“When we review for one-and-a-half years, I think nobody can challenge us on the point that we have taken over the government and continued the administration of this country to the point where people overseas respect us.
“They don’t call us a kleptocracy any more. They accept us as their equal and our words are listened to and accorded respect […] whether from Asean or the UN.”
Mahathir said that holding together the five parties that made up his administration has been a challenge.
“It is not easy. We have different ideas […] but we stay together. We meet. Representing five different parties. One of which (Sabah’s Warisan) is not even a member of the coalition.”
He claimed that many more of the coalition’s promises would be accomplished by the end of its five-year term.
“There are things we promised for five years, it’s not been five years yet. All will be implemented but slowly depending on the circumstances.”
He also highlighted that the priority was to combat corruption.
“We have passed many laws on corruption to (show) we are serious about this. From the report we get, big corruption has disappeared.”
After all, “the (new) prime minister has not stolen money as far as the MACC is concerned. (So) we started very well,” quipped Mahathir.