CYBERJAYA • Malaysia's Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng told a group of entrepreneurs yesterday that it is time the country gave some healthy economic competition to its southern neighbour Singapore.
"We must have the can-do spirit. For example, why must we lose to Singapore every time? Beat them at their own game; you can do it. Penang has beaten them many times," he told a group of entrepreneurs here at the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre's Global Accelerator Programme.
Mr Lim previously served as chief minister of northern state Penang from 2008 to 2018.
"I'm not being anti-Singapore here but I'm just trying to motivate you that you can do it! After all, if you look at Singapore, they use many of our people (talents)," Mr Lim added.
He observed that Singaporeans are really good in marketing, noting they have laid bold claims to being the originator of several dishes that are common to both countries.
"Chicken rice is theirs?... If you're not careful, fried kway teow will also be theirs (some day)," Mr Lim said to laughter from the audience, referring to Penang's iconic noodle dish.
Separately, the Finance Minister said in a statement yesterday that he had been disclosing the country's financial scandals because he was directed to do so by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
He was responding to a comment by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the de facto leader of ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan, that he should focus on boosting investor confidence while leaving it to other ministries and government agencies to expose wrongdoings.
Mr Anwar, who is the coalition's prime minister-in-waiting, had advised Mr Lim to strike a balance between exposing scandals and instilling investor confidence.
According to Mr Lim, Mr Anwar concurs that the people do not want the government to hide the country's real economic situation and financial status from them.
"We must have the courage to stand up for truth," he added.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, BERNAMA