PETALING JAYA: In his first press conference as Malaysia’s seventh prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad promises to do things a little differently in his second go in the hot seat, an allusion to his past tenure which critics said was dictatorial.
The newly elected prime minister is getting straight to work by sorting out the some of the main issues:
1. Mahathir said he intends to set up a good government with the constitution as their guide as well as the laws of the country.
“We promise to set up a good government based on the Constitution and the law of this country. We are particularly keen to ensure that the Constitution is upheld and the laws will guide us in our administration,” he said after his swearing-in ceremony as the new premier.
2. He assured the business community that there will be a better business environment and encouraged investors to boost the stock market.
“We want the private and government sector to become a corporate sector to become one sector under a corporation which is Malaysia. We intend to build up the country with help from investors inside and outside the country. We would like to see an active stock market. We think we can achieve this because we have people who are experienced in economics and finance,” he said in his first press conference as PM.
3. He quipped that he was not proficient in these areas but he will listen to financial experts in his party.
“Strange to say for a dictator, I am a good listener,” he said to cheers at the Sheraton hotel here.
4. He also promised his monetary backers who had helped him in the campaign that they will get their refunds back on undue taxes that were levied upon them during the campaign.
“I would like to say that some people surreptitiously gave us money, they don’t tell people, they come quietly. Because we know what will happen if they are seen to be close to me. They would be visited by the income tax department and the MACC and they will have been forced to pay additional tax which is not due. We would like to refund their taxes,” he said.
5. He also promised that government officers will have their cases studied and be promoted accordingly.
6. He also urged the business people to push up the price of the stock market.
“There should be no cause for the devaluation of ringgit. As you know we cannot devalue the ringgit too much or else we won’t be competitive. But we try to make it steady,” he added.
7. Another promise he made was to stabilise the petrol prices.
“We will not change the petrol prices every few seconds, it is disturbing to dealers, we will stabilise it,” he added.
8. He also said that he will try and solve the economic mess left behind by the previous regime.
“I became the Prime minister in 1981 when the country was going through a very serious recession but we recovered earlier and we currently have some minds in the government to look into this and we will try and solve the issues caused by the previous prime minister,” he said.
9. When asked if some government heads of department will keep their jobs, he was direct about it.
“Some heads must roll. This is because some of them were found to be aiding and abetting the former Prime Minister which the world has condemned as a kleptocrat,” he said.
10. Mahathir also said that their manifesto which has promised to do away with a lot of the previous regime’s policies has to be fulfilled and they have to work towards that.
Mahathir also said that he will meet with the presidential leaders of the parties of the coalition today to discuss those who are in the first Pakatan Harapan Cabinet. He said that the roles will be divided among all component parties.