PUTRAJAYA, May 30 (Bernama) — The government is to establish a ‘Tabung Harapan Malaysia’ fund to accept donations from the people to help strengthen its financial position, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced today.
He said the fund was necessary to ensure that the donations from patriotic Malaysians would reach the Ministry of Finance.
“Many Malaysians, after knowing the bad state of the country’s financial position, are willing to make donations to the government. We welcome their patriotic attitude and express our gratitude to them,” he said at a press conference after chairing a meeting of the Cabinet at Perdana Putra here.
Dr Mahathir said the account number for the channelling of the donations would be announced soon.
The recent announcement of the national debt of RM1 trillion had prompted many Malaysians to express over the social media their readiness to make donations to help the government reduce the debt.
Dr Mahathir also announced that the theme for this year’s National Day celebration would be ‘Sayangi Malaysiaku’ (I Love Malaysia).
He also said that the Permata Early Child Education and Care Programme would be moved from the Prime Minister’s Department to the Education Ministry.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had said previously that the Permata Programme would be retained as it was a good programme that helped in the development and welfare of children but it would be subjected to a review and audit first.
Asked about talk that the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) would be dissolved, Dr Mahathir said the department’s position had yet to be discussed at the Cabinet level.
However, he said, a group of ‘ulama’ (Islamic scholars) and individuals knowledgeable in Islam would discuss the role of Jakim in the country.
They would look into whether Jakim would have to be retained as it was now or its original objective would have to be revived, he said.
The Prime Minister said the government wanted to ensure that Islam was not portrayed as a cruel, harsh and inconsiderate religion.
“Islam is not that. We do not observe many of the prohibitions in Islam. However, we think of other ways that do not come from Islam to show that Islam is harsh in its ways.
“In other words, we prefer the use of force when Quranic teachings say there is no coercion in Islam,” he said.
Asked about the status of the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) or National Civics Bureau, which many quarters have said should be scrapped, Dr Mahathir said the matter was being studied.
Asked about a proposal by a group calling itself Hindraf 2.0 for Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) to be opened also to non-Bumiputeras, Dr Mahathir said the Cabinet did not discuss the matter at its meeting today.
Commenting on the call by Bersih 2.0 for the Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah and its members to resign, the Prime Minister said the government would first look into several reports on misconduct in the running of the 14th general election.
“When we finish with that, then we will consider what we have to do with him (EC chairman),” he said. – Bernama