KUALA LUMPUR: The government may need to devise new taxes to pay off its debts, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad because the previous administration left many problems that have turned Malaysia from an Asian tiger into a small kitten.
Another way is to sell some of the government's land to locals in order to raise new sources of funds.
The Prime Minister said one major problem which the government was currently facing was in finding the money needed to pay off the huge debts left behind by the previous administration.
He said that it had been suggested that the government should introduce new taxes.
"I don't think that is something welcomed by the people, but we may have to devise new taxes in order to have the money to pay our debts," Dr Mahathir said in his keynote address at an investors conference titled 'Malaysia: A New Dawn' on Tuesday (Oct 9).
The conference is jointly organised by Malayan Banking Bhd, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and RHB Banking Group.
One other thing which the government could do, said the Prime Minister, was to sell some of its assets in order to raise the funds needed.
Dr Mahathir said land was one type of asset which the government could consider selling.
However, he noted how the previous government had sold a lot of land to foreigners.
"I don't think that would be good for us, but we can still sell land to locals so that they can develop the housing projects and settlements that they believe will give them returns," he added.
The Prime Minister said the government may also have to sell some of its valuable assets, but did not elaborate further on what they were.
Dr Mahathir said that while Malaysia was once known as an Asian tiger, it had now become a "small kitten" due to the problems left behind by the previous administration.
"It is hoped that with forums like this, people can give ideas to the government and that the government can implement some of those ideas.
"I am sure that this country will again grow to become yet another tiger," he added.