CYBERJAYA - Malaysia will still be able to achieve developed nation status in five years time if the Government is prepared to reduce and be frugal with its spending, said former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said the Government must quickly identify and stop unnecessary projects as well as give priority only to those that were important.
"Some circumstances cannot be avoided by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as they are external forces.
"The government has done their plannings, and with the right strategies and hard work, the country will still be able to achieve the status of developed nation," he told a press conference after launching the US$1bil (RM3.6bil) Donation Campaign to Rebuild Gaza, at Shaftsbury Asteria, here, Saturday.
Najib announced on Jan 20 that the Government would cut its operating expenditure by RM5.5bil to RM217.94bil.
The number however, does not include any additional expenditure.
Dr Mahathir, served as the Prime Minister for 22 years, said with less allocation due to drop of global oil prices, it was important for the government to cut unnecessary spending.
"They must study what is being spend and whether it is necessary or not.
"The projects should be identified and just cut off the allocation.
"We know we do not have much money, so we must find ways to spend less.
"When we are rich, we act like rich people, and when we are poor, we must act like poor people," he said.
Earlier in his key note speech, Dr Mahathir pointed out that there seems to be a hypocrisy reaction between response to the attacks of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in France when Western countries do nothing to stop the thousands of killing in Palestine.
Although he expressed full sympathy towards the cartoonists and fully condemn terrorism, he said that the Western country seems to "forget" about those who were killed in Palestine.
"Those victims in Gaza were killed for no reasons and their houses and towns were bomb, killing thousands.
"Some are babies and children while those who were injured also who are mostly old. When thousands are killed, nobody in the western world mourns or cry for them," said Dr Mahathir.
The donation will be channelled to rebuild Gaza's infrastructure, which include health, housing agriculture, and communications, among others, together with the Malaysian Society for Engineering and Technolpgy (MySET) and Humanitarian Care Malaysia Berhad (MyCARE).
Dr Mahathir said Muslim countries should come up with a proper strategy to end suffering and continue rebuilding Gaza.
"We hope to collect the donations and help our brothers and sister in Gaza.
"We must continue to build friendship to help our cause and change their mindset.
"We are glad that some European countries have recognised Palestine as an independent state," he said.