PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak warned Malaysians to be wary of “dream merchants” who could turn the country into another failed state depending on foreign handouts to survive.
The Prime Minister said the Government does not want to see the country, some day, having to hang on to the goodwill of international financial institutions, similar to the fate that had befallen some nations forced to seek handouts.
“We will not let Malaysia transform from a modern middle-high income industrial nation into a failed state due to fiscal irresponsibility and mismanagement.
“A responsible (political) party would rather remain unpopular in the short term than drive the country bankrupt in the long run,” he said when addressing civil servants here Tuesday.
“It is normal for some people to be mesmerised by cunning dream merchants who utter sweet nothings to fool them through promises in documents of various forms, like sea blue, dark green, white and now orange,” said Najib.
However, he warned, that Malaysia might suffer the fate of other failed states if the reforms proposed by certain political parties were allowed to take place.
In an obvious reference to the political agenda outlined in the Buku Jingga (Orange Book) of the Pakatan Rakyat parties, Najib said the “dream merchants” have, at times, managed to dupe people into believing “there's gold at the end of the rainbow.”
The prime minister, who is Barisan Nasional chief, said that when it came to promises, the ruling coalition was able to deliver them through various initiatives and capabilities within its means.
“In fact, even before we make the promises, we ensure that whatever is said is realistic,” adding that the Government would be responsible and take into account every aspect of the people's well-being and long term interests.
He said it was irresponsible for any party to introduce initiatives that were only populist in nature, without explaining to the people the actual cost of the plans and methods of financing the initiatives.
“Simply saying these plans will be funded by plugging leakages in government spending does not present a transparent explanation.
“It does not give a clear picture of the government's need to increase revenue and avoid being dependent on natural resources,” he said, adding it was not the time for the people to try and experiment but to continue to hold on tight to what has been tested and proven.
Najib said this was why the Government implemented policy to rationalise subsidies even though, in principle, it believed that subsidies were vital for certain groups and sectors.
“We have to understand that Government resources are limited while the nature of demand is unlimited.