Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has criticized the report by Datuk Seri Idris Jala, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department who said that the country will go bankrupt if the subsidies were not reduced. Dr Mahathir said that Idris had exaggerated in his claims and that the country would instead become ‘poor’ and might not go bankrupt.
He said “Perhaps Idris was exaggerating. We are not going to be bankrupt but we are going to be poor. When the country is doing well, most people are working and they are creating wealth and then the government will tax them but in a recession that is when most of the people are unemployed and yet that is the time when we need the most amount of money. At the time when the country is in recession and the government has no money. We need to accept but I hope that the government will do this gradually and not suddenly pull the carpet from under your feet,”
He added that “In Malaysia, we must accept that when prices of raw materials go up then the prices of the end-product must also go up. You know the prices of petrol during my time was US$30 but at one time it went up to US$140. Imagine the amount of money that the government has to roll out. Especially now when our country’s oil production has been reduced to less than 500,000 barrels per day and we use more than 400,000 barrels a day. Therefore we only have 100,000 barrels to sell,”