KUALA LUMPUR: The government is hopeful of a substantial reduction in the amount of government debt within the next few months, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
He said since taking over as prime minister, his government had cancelled a number of costly projects which contributed to the overall debt reduction.
"Trying to reduce debt is a tough job, but we have cancelled a number of costly projects," he said at the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce luncheon here on Thursday.
He said the government's efforts at improving the financial situation and economy of the country, however, was not being taken positively by foreign investors, leading to a capital outflow.
"Sometimes, I feel the market prefers to be told lies on how good we are, rather than the truth," he added.
The prime minister emphasised the government's business friendly policy and need for closer collaboration between the public and private sectors.
"We want to work closely with the private sector, which means, of course, we will be accessible to it, " he said.
Dr Mahathir also said the government is open to ideas and constructive comments from the private sector to help improve the delivery process of the public sector.
"I can assure you that when criticised or told we are doing something wrong, we will do our best to correct it," he added.
He said the intention of the government is to facilitate the growth of the private sector, which is the engine of wealth for the country.
According to Dr Mahathir, the government by itself can't create wealth, but if enriched by collecting taxes from a very prosperous community, then the country would be better off.
He said the government is also keen to encourage foreign direct investments for high technology industries to address unemployment issues among graduates.
He said Malaysia is a good investment location with skilled manpower to deliver quality products and services.
"We can train Malaysians to produce good quality products that are acceptable to the world market. The government is also looking at ways to improve productivity in the country and not focusing solely on raising the income level,” he added. - Bernama