PM: Constructive criticism welcomed

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 23 May 2004

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wants MPs to ensure that Parliament has lively debates to prove that having a scaled-down opposition will not adversely affect democracy. 

In an interview with CNBC Asia, Abdullah said all MPs had been told to express their views and make constructive criticisms in ways that would benefit the country. 

“I said I would welcome constructive criticisms from all of you and I will. I would like people to feel that having a very small opposition does not adversely affect the way democracy is practised in Parliament. 

“It has to be a first-class Parliament, where democracy is seen to be really working,” Abdullah told the network's anchor Bettina Chua in an interview aired over Astro last night. 

When suggested that many Malaysians had been disappointed that several individuals thought to be engaged in “questionable” activities were retained in the Cabinet, Abdullah said he had made investigations before reappointing those.  

“I check and if the policemen or the Anti Corruption Agency says, 'OK no problems', then I decide whether he should be named as a candidate.” 

Asked if it was possible to de-link political influence, personalities and connection from the way business had traditionally been done in Malaysia, Abdullah replied: “I don't think there will be too much difficulty. Perhaps, in the beginning, may be. 

“What we would like to do is do it right, make it fair, make it clear to the people that this is the best for Malaysia and for the people. 

“The boards, the executive, the management to embrace the culture of high performance, to adhere to good governance and accountability. I don't think anybody will stand up, dispute and say – no, we won't have that.” 

On the necessity of re-making Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Abdullah said he wanted to empower and develop a bigger capacity for the government-linked company. 

“If the companies were to adopt the high performance index I have been talking about, if they have the kind of leadership – young and dynamic – then I think they can do well. Khazanah must do well,” he stressed. 

Abdullah also said that Proton would have to expand and reform, even if it meant displacing employees. 

“It cannot remain as it is today. Proton must adopt new technologies.  

“This may reduce the number of people working in Proton. But if Proton is going to perform, then this is the only way to compete. Otherwise, if Proton is down and out, then more people will be unemployed,” he said. 

On the Islam hadhari practised in Malaysia, Abdullah said Muslims here were progressive, well educated, doing well in business, in life and ready to befriend others.  

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