BUKIT MERTAJAM: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has told the civil service to shed their old ways in getting things done by taking note of the efficiency shown by Elon Musk’s Tesla.
Speaking to some 1,000 Dell Technologies staff at a town hall meeting at their factory in Bukit Minyak, Anwar said he was impressed by how fast Tesla moved in to set up its headquarters in the country.
“Half a month ago, he (Musk) gave his commitment. Ten days ago, he sent his regional chief to meet me to tell me they are buying a huge building in Cyberjaya, and they want me to officiate the opening,” he said.
“All this in weeks … (But) we are so slow. That is why I tell our civil servants that we cannot be (set) in our old ways. ‘Managing, tender, discuss, commissions’. We can’t anymore.”
Following his 25-minute meeting with Tesla CEO Musk on July 14, Anwar announced that Tesla would be setting up its Malaysian headquarters, as well as service centres, in Selangor this year.
In its statement on July 20, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority said Tesla’s state-of-the-art head office and service centre would be located in Cyberjaya.
Move away from food imports
Separately, Anwar said the country should work on reducing its reliance on food imports by planting more crops.
Last month, deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that consumer demand, along with currency exchange factors, had caused the country’s food import bill to rise to RM62 billion in 2022 compared with RM48 billion in 2021.
At today’s event, Anwar said large conglomerates, such as Sime Darby, had been told to use their vacant lands to plant produce and rear livestock so as to strengthen food security in the long run.
“This is better than the government continuing to subsidise food items. (Our subsidies) remain one of the highest in the world,” he said.
“But if we were to stop subsidies, we would lose the elections. So we have to find other ways to resolve this.”
Anwar said plants such as chillies, which are largely imported from South Asia, could be easily grown in backyards.
“I have tried planting this at my home in Segambut last time, and it grew so big it was able to feed the entire family,” he said.
“But if I were to say this, then it would be construed as me asking people to plant chillies. I have to be careful with my words.”