KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, BERNAMA) - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Friday (July 20) that his administration will revive the concept of Malaysia Incorporated (Malaysia Inc) he first introduced in his previous tenure as premier.
"We are reviving the concept of Malaysia Incorporated," Tun Dr Mahathir said in a speech at the 72nd annual general meeting of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM).
"Malaysia will be regarded as one huge corporation where the government and private sector work to ensure the success of our cooperation."
Dr Mahathir, 93, introduced the Malaysia Inc concept early in his first run as premier from 1981 to 2003 to encourage cooperation between the public and private sectors.
The concept - essentially a privatisation policy to spur economic development through the close cooperation of the public and private sectors - transformed Malaysia from an agriculture-based economy into a rapidly industrialising and trading nation in less than a generation.
Alluding to the previous administration of Najib Razak, who has been indicted for graft, Dr Mahathir said reviving Malaysia Inc will be something that the government will implement in the near future.
"Today, Malaysia is still in the process of recovering. It takes time. Not too long, but it takes time for us to achieve a complete reversal of the wrongs committed in the past.
"But rest assured we are determined to do so and we need feedback from the business community so that what revision we do will be good for the country and business community," he said.
Allegations of massive corruption were a major factor behind the defeat of Najib’s long-ruling coalition and the ushering into power of a reformist alliance headed by his former mentor, Dr Mahathir.
Najib has since been charged for corruption over a multibillion dollar financial scandal at the state fund 1MDB. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Dr Mahathir said on Friday the new government would enhance anti-corruption practices to ensure a clean business environment and fair play.
"This government is a new government and it will be business-friendly. It will not be corrupt. I know some business people are worried if they deal with a person who is corrupt, some retaliation might occur by the person concerned or his colleagues.
"We will protect you from any retaliation. We want a clean government and I believe so do you."
Dr Mahathir reiterated that Malaysia must never reject foreign direct investment.
"Today, we see many factories in Malaysia (which are) started, owned and operated by Malaysians without any foreign investment but we still need foreign investment because we know that there are new technologies being developed and must be mastered if we are going to compete with the rest of the world," he said.
He added that 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 need to do was to fill in empty slots with people who already have experiences 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 have faith in us. Give us time to correct the mistakes in the past," he said.
Dr Mahathir is also optimistic that the country will return to the democratic system and the rule of law.
"This is very important because no country, which is unstable and does not follow the rule of law, can ever prosper," he added.