KUALA LUMPUR: 1MDB was a "monstrosity" that abused the whole civil service, as the nation's coffers were used as "a personal kitty", says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said that the damage caused by the 1MDB scandal was not only financial, but also institutional and the government is trying to correct it.
"One of the biggest challenges after successfully toppling the kleptocratic regime was mopping up the mess left behind and rebuilding the nation.
"It will take a lot of effort, time and money. What we found after we took over was far worse than what we believed was the damage caused.
"While we were correct in our fears that the previous regime had turned the nation’s coffers into a personal kitty, the damage was not just financial, but institutional as well.
"While 1MDB is without doubt a monstrosity, we will never be able to fully fathom the damage it caused the nation. Beyond the corruption and the financial shenanigans, the whole machinery of government was subverted and weakened.
"A considerable amount of government revenue now has to go to pay debts, leaving inadequate funds for operations and development. It is a near miracle that this country was not bankrupted," Dr Mahathir said.
He said this in his officiating speech at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Praxis Conference 2019 on Oct 21.
He further said that for the country to recover, the machinery of the government has to be efficient.
"This means zero corruption, if possible. All efforts have been made to achieve this. Maybe we have achieved some success because growth has been maintained," said Dr Mahathir.
Later, at a question-and-answer session, he said that the somewhat inexperienced government has been able to perform.
"Although it is an inexperienced government to a certain extent, we have maintained our growth at 4.6%, which is good, but we need to grow faster.
"For that, we need the civil service to contribute by being more efficient and more dedicated. Passion is necessary, and we think the present civil service has the passion to deliver on their promises," said Dr Mahathir.