Main focus on reviving our economy and reviewing mega projects that contribute to the almost RM1 trillion debt.
Efforts to revive the country’s economy and make Malaysia a major investment destination in the Southeast Asian region and globally are the main focus of the Ministry of Economic Affairs for the next five years.
Its new minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, said he believed that Malaysia has great potential to restore the confidence of domestic and foreign investors because it has competent and knowledgeable human capital.
“My experience as Mentri Besar of Selangor will help in ensuring that the country’s economic management is conducted responsibly and well,” he said after taking his oath of office, loyalty and secrecy together with 12 other Cabinet Ministers before Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V at Istana Negara here yesterday.
This morning, Azmin said the government will review mega projects and projects which have been approved by the previous administration.
He said some of the projects would need to be reviewed in terms of their viability, as some were hastily executed in the run-up to the 14th General Election recently.
“We will see if they are beneficial or otherwise, as we also have to consider the legal implications if the projects are halted,” he told reporters today.
Azmin had reported for duty at 7.45am here today and held a briefing with officers from the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) and the Prime Minister’s Department.
“We want to revisit all mega projects approved by the previous administration and we will also want to renegotiate the terms, but if the projects have not been carried out, we will only focus on those which will have a direct impact on the people,” he said.
He added that the projects to be reviewed included the East Coast Rail Link and the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail.
“We need to look at what happened and we want to make sure that the whole process is transparent and open. Let me sit down with the relevant authorities and agencies before we decide what to do next.
“We must be open and very transparent in procurement processes,” Azmin said.
He said that the country’s debt level was a major concern for the new administration.
“We have discussed it this morning and we need to look at factors which contributed to this huge, almost RM1 trillion debt.
“Part of it was because the process was not transparent and open, and most of the major projects were not budgeted in the national budget, it was off-budget,” he added.
On his job scope as the Minister of Economic Affairs, he said the EPU was one of the portfolios under his ministry.
“Based on my discussions with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad last week, there are several important portfolios which will be placed under the ministry’s purview, which will be determined by him.
“I will be informed by the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa soon,” he said.
Meanwhile, Azmin said EPU officers would be able to assist the new government in the strategic planning for the nation’s economic development.
“We have outlined several reform agendas under Pakatan Harapan, and the EPU found that several key thrusts which we had proposed for economic development were in line with existing policies.
“Maybe we only need to look into the narrative to align it with the Pakatan Harapan manifesto, but the key thrust areas are provided for under the 11th Malaysia Plan,” he said.
Asked if Budget 2018 would be reviewed, he said the government would need to present its mid-term review in September, as Budget 2019 would be presented on Oct 19.
“We need to prepare for Budget 2019,” he said.