KUALA LUMPUR: The previous Barisan Nasional government's policy that "cash is king" has caused the rakyat to become dependent on the government, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
"The previous government has affected the people in the sense that they have become dependent on the government, dependent on free money being given.
"Because of this dependency, they are not working to earn an income for themselves," he said.
Dr Mahathir said the new government cannot afford to continue giving free money to the public but it will take a long time to correct this mentality of expecting freebies from the government.
"There are some people in the past government who actually encouraged corruption and it is not easy to do away with that.
"For example, the people would be given free money, fishermen were practically being paid a salary.
"We cannot afford to do that, we don't steal money to give to the people, we earn money through the usual taxes collected by the government and we have to use the money wisely," he said at the sidelines of the Anti-Corruption Summit 2018 on Tuesday (Oct 30).
He said the government must slowly wean people off dependency on the government.
"They have been receiving money and now we have to stop it suddenly and they get into trouble.
"We have to slowly eliminate this form of bribing the people," he added.
Dr Mahathir said the government wants to build strong feelings against corruption in the people through education as it would lead to less corruption in the country.