PUTRAJAYA: After spending more than a week meeting top officials in his private office at the Perdana Leadership Foundation, Dr Mahathir Mohamad today started his work at the Prime Minister’s Office.
“The law is not to grant power to the government, but to protect the people from crimes committed by anyone,” he told thousands of civil servants from various departments who were assembled outside the building this morning.
Mahathir said his main task now was to improve Malaysia’s image internationally.
In line with this, he said, it was important to ensure the separation of power between the legislative, executive and judiciary.
“Over the last few years, the administration has been unable to refuse when told to do something that goes against the laws of our country.
“We have seen many officers doing things they should not have done, either out of fear or because they were bribed to do so. This has cost the country.
“Our debts, which in the past did not go beyond RM300 billion, today have gone above RM1 trillion.”
To settle these debts, Mahathir said, there had to be changes as well as cooperation between the government, elected representatives and the administration.
He said these changes included the need to upgrade the skill set of administrators.
“We will see changes, but only after there has been thorough research done on the issues.
“I cannot go into detail about these changes as we have not gotten all the information. But we are confident that… we will be able to see those changes happen without having to increase costs for the country’s administration.
“This is not a question of increasing the number of officers or establishing new institutions, but of using what institutions we have more efficiently.”
Mahathir also said Malaysia’s quest to become a high-income nation would not mean anything if the people’s purchasing power did not increase.
“The most important thing is to ensure that we have strong buying power and a strong currency.”