PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian government will continue to clamp down on corruption, despite falling support for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration, said Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday (Apr 30).
He said that some government officials under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) regime received bribes as "extra income", and so they are "disappointed" that they could no longer do so.
"Some may feel that a kleptocratic government is better than a democratic government.
"That's why support for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and also for myself has dropped. But this will not deter us from continuing the good fight, " Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying by the Star.
Speaking at a meeting with senior civil servants, the prime minister reminded them to reject bribes.
"Hopefully we promise ourselves to not be involved in corruption because it is sinful and against the law,” he said, adding that efforts to root out corruption must continue or it will destroy the country.
Dr Mahathir also acknowledged that while it is not easy for the civil service to switch its loyalty to the current administration after six decades of BN rule, divided loyalties among government officers would hamper the smooth running of the country.
“If the country is not administered well, not only will the country lose, but we will also lose,” he warned.
He reminded civil servants to set aside their political affiliation, stay neutral in their work and be loyal to the government of the day.
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Dr Mahathir did not elaborate on the government's low popularity among civil servants.
But a recent poll by Merdeka Centre showed that Dr Mahathir’s performance rating among the public plunged to 46 per cent from 71 per cent last August.
The government’s approval rating also fell from 79 per cent last May to 39 per cent in March this year.
Asked whether the survey would reflect on the 15th General Election, Dr Mahathir said it is still a long way to go.
"In the meantime, we will do lots of things. At this moment, we are constrained with all the wrong doings of the previous government," he said.
Dr Mahathir added that criticism is part and parcel of being in government.
"When you are doing something, of course it is open to criticism, when you are in opposition all you do is criticise, you do nothing so there is nothing to criticise about then," he said.