PUTRAJAYA: The poor will remain poor if they continue to rely on the government and monetary aid like the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M), says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
According to the Prime Minister, the poor also need to work hard towards improving their livelihood and at the same time, be receptive of government's strategies.
In this respect, Dr Mahathir punctuated the importance of the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030, which he said would help reduce the wealth gap between the people of various races.
He added that numerous efforts were available for the poor, and with a bit of help from the government, they could improve themselves for the better.
"The government will identify what are the things they can do, such as business opportunities or entrepreneurship.
"If one effort fails, there are other avenues for the poor to explore and they have the time to improve themselves," he told government officers at the Prime Minister's Department monthly assembly today.
Dr Mahathir also cautioned the danger of wealth inequality, especially between the races as it could trigger chaos and dissatisfaction among the people.
"Poverty is the main stumbling block of our country. If it becomes a problem, a revolution might happen and the people will act by taking over the country."
According to Dr Mahathir, during his recent trip to South Korea, he noted how advanced the country is now compare to Malaysia.
"Once upon a time, South Korea was behind us, in economic terms. They have now surpassed us with a per capita income of US$36,000 (about RM150,000) compared to ours at US$10,000.
"I wonder what is keeping Malaysia from emulating what South Korea and Japan have managed to achieve," he added.