Dr M Tells Najib: Yes, I’m Taking Msia Back to “Bygone” Era

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The prime minister, in welcoming the mass resignations of Khazanah directors, hits back at criticism of his economic policies.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad today responded to criticism by his predecessor that the government was bringing Malaysia back to the past, saying it was better to return to the “bygone era” when the country was known as an economic powerhouse.

“The bygone era is the era when Malaysia was known as an Asian Tiger. Is he saying that the people should be taken back to the era when the nation was known as a kleptocracy led by a kleptocrat?” the prime minister said in a statement.

Yesterday, Najib in his first official parliamentary speech, accused the Pakatan Harapan government of implementing “regressive” economic policies.

Mahathir also played down reports that some RM2 billion had been wiped out from Bursa Malaysia, saying it was a paper loss as opposed to the real national debt of RM1 trillion inherited from the previous government.

“The amount of debt is real, the amount needed to service the debts is real. And most of the amounts ‘invested’ by the previous administration has yet to be recovered as we do not know where they have been invested in,” he said.

Khazanah directors “cleared the deck”

Mahathir meanwhile welcomed the en masse resignations of directors of Khazanah Nasional.

It was reported that all nine directors of the state investment arm had tendered their resignations in the wake of Mahathir’s criticism that Khazanah had deviated from its original purpose.

They said the move was to allow the present government to appoint new board members of Khazanah.

Mahathir welcomed the decision, describing it as “clearing the deck”.

“This action of clearing the deck will allow restructuring as our policies are now different. While we believe in paying good salaries we cannot all the time base it on commercial rates.

“We would rather focus on rewarding with good bonuses tied to performance as some companies may not perform as they should,” he said.