PETALING JAYA: Malaysians have voted loudly and clearly for a change in government, said CIMB Group chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak (pic).
Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg yesterday, Nazir said that while there is some nervousness and apprehension among some people, he fully expected a smooth transition in political leadership, in accordance with what the people want.
“It will take a bit of time but over time, I think we are going to get a smooth political transition which is great news for the long term,” he said.
Nazir spoke on a range of topics in the interview, giving his views on Pakatan Harapan’s plan to scrap the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and review investments from China.
He said that withdrawing GST has to be seen as part of an overall equation that could be introduced alongside a possible reduction in some of the Government’s development or operating expenditure.
“I don’t think we should see removing GST as necessarily a bad thing,” he added.
Nazir said that in terms of Chinese investments, even some Malaysian companies have been calling for a review of some of the investments to make sure they are valuable to Malaysia.
“I think a review process is okay. We need to balance what’s short term and what’s long term and I am fully confident in the long term that this transition will be good for financial markets vis-a-vis Malaysia.”
Asked what he felt was the biggest risk now in Malaysia, Nazir said it was in how well the Government balances between short versus long-term priorities for the country.
Asked if he felt that the past nine years under the leadership of his brother Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had tarnished the reputation of Malaysia, Nazir said that the “big, noisy element” was the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) crisis.
“In hindsight, 1MDB led to many other things. Given the incongruous treatment of the 1MDB issue at home and abroad, of course there’s an effect on Malaysia’s reputation.
“And the rakyat has voted against that,” he said.
Asked what he felt would be needed to resolve the problem, Nazir said: “I think it’s to give full transparency and to deal with it, as I’ve been saying in the past”.
Asked how he felt the Government could address the many issues ahead, Nazir said that this was a great opportunity for it to re-examine many policies.
“We will have fresh ideas from a new bunch of people coming in and we should look forward to it.
“Smooth political transition, fresh ideas, and long-term Malaysia will prove that we will go through this peacefully, and I think that’s going to be very good for us,” he added.