PETALING JAYA: Political observers have cast doubt on former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s capability to attract foreign investors, following his appointment as economic adviser to the four state governments run by PAS.
Council of Professors fellow Jeniri Amir said Mahathir’s mobility and capabilities are severely limited, as he nears 100 years of age.
“To attract foreign investors, he needs to go abroad more. Merely selling the Mahathir name within the country, what can they achieve?
“I don’t believe it can be done in a short time, in the next two or three years. Reviving the economy takes a long time,” he told FMT.
Mahathir was named as adviser to the PAS-led state governments of Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis last week.
The menteris besar of the grouping, dubbed “state government 4” or SG4, will discuss an action plan, with Mahathir playing an informal role, including administrative matters and relations with foreign investors.
Jeniri said SG4 should consider having Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyiddin Yassin as adviser instead, given that Muhyiddin was also a prime minister.
Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara, on the other hand, said Mahathir’s selection was an effort to create the perception that the PAS-led states have a “prime minister” with enough experience, even though they are not part of the federal government.
However, Syaza Syukri of International Islamic University Malaysia, believes that Mahathir’s experience in leading the country for more than two decades undoubtedly places Muhyiddin in the background.
“Muhyiddin has that experience, but his government lasted only a year or so, so we can see that Mahathir might have more strength in that regard.”
She also said the relationship between Bersatu and PAS is not as strong as many think, and sees the relationship between the two parties as being “engaged in business dealings”.