LANGKAWI (June 1): The Pakatan Harapan's pledge to make 10 policy changes within 100 days in government were made without any knowledge of the government's weakened financial position caused by the previous administration, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Thanking his voters in his first speech here after winning the Langkawi Parliament seat, Dr Mahathir conceded that the Pakatan Harapan government would not be able to meet some of the pledges in 100 days.
"I want to thank you for choosing me to be your representative. We are thankful with the big win, which was not expected as many said it was not possible for an opposition coalition to win.
"The win was to have brought many changes to the people due to the promises to make people's lives better (but) we made the promises without much knowledge (of the financial state of the government) because we did not know how bad it was.
"Today, we find that the 10 promises that were to be fulfilled in 100 days would need a longer time to fulfill. I believe you will understand how difficult it is to govern a country after it has been damaged," he told some 3,000 people at Masjid Al-Hana in a breaking fast event.
The 92-year-old beat incumbent Datuk Nawawi Ahmad from Umno, and PAS's Zubir Ahmad to wrest the seat, once a Barisan Nasional-stronghold, by a majority of 8,893 in the 14th general election.
Yesterday, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said five out of the 10 pledges would be deferred in order to contain, if not reduce, the country's debt of RM1.07 trillion.
The five affected promises are increase in minimum wage, delaying the National Higher Education Fund Corp (PTPTN) loan repayment period for those with monthly income of RM4,000 and below, Skim Peduli Sihat, targeted petrol subsidies for cars below 1,300cc and motorcycles below 125cc, and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contribution scheme for housewives.
"To ensure the RM1 trillion national debt is contained, if not reduced, we are compelled to implement some of the promises only when the financial situation improves.
"As much as we would like to implement all of the 100-day promises, the federal government is fiscally responsible and will not follow the previous government's example of fiscal imprudence that would almost certainly have led the nation on the path to bankruptcy," Lim added.
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir advised Langkawi folks to stop their enmity among each other due to different political alliances.
He said because the election is over, voters should not let their political party allegiance affect their friendship and dealings with each other.
"The election is over but I see that the enmity among people due to the way people voted continuing until now that it is affecting our lives and what used to be a friendly relationship. This is not right and it is against our religious teaching," he added.