PUTRAJAYA: The poor cannot continue to rely on government handouts if they want to overcome their situation, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said it was best for them to find ways of overcoming their poverty through hard work and that there is no substitute for it.
“If they were to just rely on monetary aid from the government then they will continue to remain poor,” he said in his speech during the Prime Minister’s Department’s monthly staff gathering today.
“The government has come up with the Shared Prosperity Vision which aims to help everyone especially the poor but they must be willing to embrace it. This vision aims at providing means to help the poor overcome their woes.”
Mahathir said the government is more than willing to help the poor by providing them training on how to run a business and even loans.
He said there are many examples of the poor who have succeeded and even become millionaires through sheer hard work.
He said the poor have time on their hand, and they should make use of it by venturing into business or to do things that can help them earn extra income.
The prime minister also urged government employees to help the poor overcome their woes by explaining to them why they cannot simply rely on handouts.
He said they need to know about the opportunities that are available to them under the Shared Prosperity Vision.
“What is worrisome today is that there is a growing disparity between the rich and the poor and this is now race based,” he said.
“One race has moved forward and become richer while another race had remained poor, this is not good for the country or its future.”
Mahathir said such a difference is not healthy for the country and it could lead to disharmony.
He said if this huge division between the rich and poor continues to exist, then in the long term it will become a problem.
He said the only good thing is that people have not used violence to overthrow the government because they know they can change a government via the ballot box.
Mahathir said for Malaysia to become a developed nation just like Japan, South Korea and China, the disparity between the rich and poor must be reduced.
He said if this fails to happen than the country and its people will be left behind and will not be able to develop.
He pointed out that South Korea was behind Malaysia and had to here to learn but today it is a develop nation.
He said this has been achieved through hard work and Malaysia too must work hard to reach such a status.