Najib said that on Dec 26, Dr Mahathir himself had made a statement that giving the BR1M was purportedly a bribe and illegal, but changed his tone yesterday when he said the opposition was willing to consider giving BR1M if it led the government later.
“Within a period of only three weeks he had changed his stand and made a ‘u-turn’ by stating that if the opposition were to win, it was prepared to consider giving BR1M.
“Lately, Tun Mahathir had made too many u-turns in terms of his stand, so we can consider Tun Mahathir now as a u-turn champion because his action and statement contradicted each other,” he said.
He said this to reporters at a media conference after giving away prizes to outstanding students in the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) and Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (PT3) 2016 as well as the ‘Back To School’ aid to recipients in the Pekan Parliamentary constituency, here Sunday.
Also present at the ceremony were Pahang Foundation general manager Datuk Mahmud Mohd Nawawi; Malaysian Automotive Institute (MAI) chief executive officer Datuk Mohamad Madani Sahari; and MARA Education Foundation (YPM) chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Karim Mustafa.
Dr Mahathir, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman when officially launching the party at Stadium Malawati here, last night, said that the opposition was prepared to give BR1M to the people if it led the government later.
The statement completely contradicted his previous stand when he frequently claimed that BR1M was a form of corruption and thus illegal in terms of the law.
“The government does not consider BR1M to be a bribe and in fact it did not differ much from what was done by the state government of Selangor and Penang in the channelling of aid for the people.
“It is also the same during the time when Dr Mahathir was the prime minister when he channelled welfare aid and cash payment to the people of Terengganu, in fact if we look at the PPBM website they had stated that they were willing to help if the people wanted BR1M,” he said.
In addition, he said, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir when they were leaders in the government had also defended the government policy in giving BR1M to the people.
Najib again pointed out that the BR1M payment should not have been politicised as it was a noble effort of the government to assist the poor people in the country.
“The original idea of giving BR1M did not come from me but Bank Negara Malaysia. They suggested that payment in this way was better than oil subsidy and so on.
“Right from the start it was not politically motivated, but we want to help the people who were eligible…it was not linked to their political leanings,” he said.
Meanwhile, Najib also described Dr Mahathir’s statement that the opposition would do away with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) if it were to rule as ’empty talk’ to mislead the people.
“He can talk but actually we, as the government, need the revenue, if we do away with the GST, we will lose RM40 billion annually, the question is what other revenue can replace it.
“This was not mentioned by him, so it is merely to mislead the people and play about with sentiments without sticking to the fact,” he said.
Najib said the GST had been adopted in 120 countries and Malaysia was among the nations that imposed the lowest rate.
On another development, Najib said the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) were prepared to defend the Tanjong Datu state constituency following the death of incumbent Assemblyman, Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
Najib, who is also BN chairman, said he would discuss with the new Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg as soon as the date for the by-election for the seat was fixed by the Election Commission (EC).
“PBB and the BN are fully prepared to contest and defend the seat,” he said.
Adenan, 72, who was the fifth Sarawak chief minister, died of heart complication at the Heart Centre of the Sarawak General Hospital, Kota Samarahan, at 1.30pm on Wednesday.