After the royal address in Dewan Rakyat yesterday, 18 May, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad held a press conference to criticise the Perikatan Nasional government on a number of issues
During a 30-minute session with the media, he alleged that the PN government has overpromised the RM230 billion economic stimulus package, where a large portion will be paid out to the rakyat and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) owners as COVID-19 pandemic relief funds
"The allocation is so huge. But from what we heard, the money has yet to be distributed to the eligible recipients," said Dr Mahathir.
"In fact, the fund is not coming from the government but other sources, and when they get to recover what had been stolen, then they will use the money to distribute (the financial aids)."
SAYS previously reported that Malaysians were concerned about receiving their Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) payouts due to a delay in the application approval process.
Dr Mahathir made the claim after referring to the recent case of Datuk Seri Najib Razak's stepson Riza Aziz being granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) in his money laundering trial
Prior to this, Riza, who allegedly used stolen funds to finance blockbuster movies in Hollywood, was facing five counts of money laundering involving USD248 million (RM1.08 billion) linked to 1MDB funds.
However, he was granted a DNAA last Thursday, 14 May, which allows him to walk free from his crimes as long as he pays back the alleged stolen funds.
Dr Mahathir claimed that Riza had struck a deal with the PN government to return the stolen funds without punishment, something which is against what Pakatan Harapan set out to do.
"But now we see that if someone swindles over RM1 billion, then agrees to return some RM400 million, which is not even half of the amount, they can get away," Malaysiakini quoted him as saying.
"If this is the new policy for Malaysia, then all thieves can steal. And when they do it, they can be sure to enjoy half of the money while the other half can be returned to the government so they won't get punished."
Dr Mahathir quipped that thieves are now lining up outside the courts to seek a similar settlement.
As of today, 19 May, Putrajaya managed to recover RM600,000 from Riza
According to New Straits Times, the government expects "a substantial sum amounting to millions of ringgit" will soon follow.
On 14 April, the US Justice Department returned USD300 million (RM1.3 billion) in stolen funds linked to 1MDB. Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had then expressed his gratitude towards the US government for the recovery.