KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has urged whistleblowers in the business community to step forward and report corrupt officials from the previous administration.
The Prime Minister said they should not be fearful of retribution, pledging that the Pakatan Harapan government will protect them.
Speaking at the opening of the 72nd annual general meeting of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM), Dr Mahathir said the Pakatan federal government welcomes foreign direct investments and domestic investments, and will be very business-friendly.
“It (the Pakatan government) will not be corrupt. I know some business people are worried that if they reveal a person who is corrupt, then some retaliation might be attempted by that person or his colleagues.
“If you tell us what happened, we will protect you from any retaliation. We want a clean government and I believe so do you,” he said, drawing applause from the audience.
ACCCIM president Tan Sri Ter Leong Yap and other office-bearers were present at the opening of the AGM, along with a number of Cabinet members.
They included Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, Entrepreneurship Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof and Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok.
British High Commissioner to Malaysia Victoria Treadell, Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia Makio Miyagawa and Singapore High Commissioner to Malaysia Vanu Gopala Menon were also present.
Dr Mahathir said that when he first became Prime Minister in 1981, he did not have to do much in terms of cleaning up the government as it did not have many problems.
“Today, we have to rebuild the government because so many things were destroyed and it is time-consuming and difficult for us to run the government efficiently in these initial stages,” he said.
The Prime Minister said he and his administration had made considerable progress since taking power.
“We have rid ourselves of many rotten set-ups and are cleaning up the rest of the country,” he said.
Since taking office after the 14th General Election, Dr Mahathir has taken a tough line against corruption. He has introduced measures such as making it mandatory for any financial donation to Pakatan Harapan parties to require a Cabinet approval.
He also expanded a no-gift policy on civil servants to cover ministers, deputy ministers and political secretaries as well as the Prime Minister. Gifts should be limited to flowers, food and fruits.
All ministers will have to declare their assets to the Prime Minister and to present the same report to the anti-graft authority.
In his speech, Dr Mahathir urged the business community to support and have faith in the Government to correct past mistakes.
“I am sure that we can achieve our target to return to the democratic system and rule of law in this country,” said Dr Mahathir, noting that no country which is unstable or which does not follow the rule of law could prosper.
“We want to go back to the political system that served us well in the 1980s and 1990s. We believe that though there were faults, many things done in those days contributed to Malaysia developing to the extent that we became known as one of the Asian tigers.”
The Prime Minister also announced that Malaysia Inc will be making a comeback in the near future.
“We are reviving the concept of Malaysia Incorporated. Malaysia will be regarded as one huge corporation where the government and private sector work to ensure success,” Dr Mahathir said.
The Malaysia Inc policy was Dr Mahathir’s brainchild and introduced in his first tenure as Prime Minister.
Dr Mahathir first mentioned the concept of Malaysia Inc at a forum held at the National Institute of Public Administration on Feb 25, 1983.
“Today, Malaysia is still in the process of recovering. It takes time. Not too long, but it takes time for us to achieve a complete reversal of the wrongs committed in the past.
“But rest assured that we are determined to do so and we need feedback from the business community so that what revision we do will be good for the country and the community,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia’s success over the years was due in part to the contributions of the business community, in particular the Chinese business community.
“The Chinese business community is dynamic in many ways and ready to adopt new ways of doing business and new methods of producing goods for the market,” he said.
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