Dr M: We’ll clamp down on corruption to improve business environment

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia’s 72nd annual general meeting today. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today assured that Malaysia would continue to be a business-friendly nation and would clamp down on corruption to attract more foreign and domestic direct investments.

The prime minister said the new government would also enhance anti-corruption measures to ensure a clean business environment and fair play.

At the same time, he said, Putrajaya would revive the Malaysia Incorporated (Malaysia Inc) policy to foster close cooperation between the government and the private sector.

“This government is a new government and it will be business-friendly. It will not be corrupt. I know some businesspeople are worried that if they deal with a corrupt individual, there will be some retaliation by the said person or his colleagues.

“We will protect you from any retaliation. We want a clean government and, I believe, so do you,” he said when opening the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia’s (ACCCIM) 72nd annual general meeting here.

Introduced in 1981, the Malaysia Inc concept is premised on the idea that the economic growth and overall development of the country can be facilitated by strong collaboration between the private and public sectors.

Mahathir reiterated that the country must never reject foreign direct investments as there would always be new inventions and products that Malaysia had no knowledge of.

“Today, we see many factories in Malaysia (which are) started, owned and operated by Malaysians without any foreign investments. But we still need foreign investments because we know that there are new technologies being developed and which must be mastered if we are going to compete with the rest of the world,” he added.

The prime minister said Malaysia was in the process of recovery and it would take time for a complete reversal of the wrongs committed in the past.

“Rest assured that we are determined to do so, and we need feedback from the business community so that what we do will be good for the country and certainly for the business community.

“We accept the fact that the business community will be the greatest contributor towards enriching this country.”

Mahathir said the new government had made considerable progress in the administration and was introducing new laws to replace draconian ones which were not in line with most of the country’s development.

“When I became the prime minister in 1981, there was little work to do. All I needed to do was to fill in empty slots with people who already had the experience to run the government.

“Today, we have to rebuild the government because so many things have been destroyed. It is very difficult and time-consuming for us to run the government during the initial stages.

“With this, we need your support and faith in us. Give us time to correct the mistakes in the past,” he said.

Mahathir was also optimistic that the country would return to the democratic system and rule of law.

“This is very important because no country which is unstable and does not follow the rule of law can ever prosper.”