Mahathir facing same problems as my govt: PM Imran

Published: January 19, 2020
Malaysian PM Dr Mahathir Bin Mohamad with PM Imran Khan. PHOTO: FILE

Malaysian PM Dr Mahathir Bin Mohamad with PM Imran Khan. PHOTO: FILE

Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday that the Muslim world’s most experienced and accomplished statesman, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, faced the same difficulties as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

In a tweet on Sunday, Khan shared a recent blog post by the Malaysian premier and said: “He [Mahathir] is confronted with an entrenched pol mafia that has bankrupted and indebted Malaysia, leaving state institutions devastated.”

The two leaders share a deep bond with PM Imran praising Mahathir’s vision for Malaysia’s steady economic progress. The two leaders have pushed for unity in the Muslim world and to curb Islamophobia.

On PM Imran’s invitation, Mahathir visited Islamabad and was the chief guest at the Pakistan Day parade on March 23, 2019. In November 2018, Imran led a Pakistani delegation during which the two sides agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in trade, privatisation, foreign direct investment, food, and tourism.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s blog

In his blog post, Mahathir underscored the difficulties faced by a new government when it takes over from a ‘kleptocratic’ predecessor.

“When a new party takes over as a government, it would be a miracle if it were to execute all its plans and promises overnight,” wrote the Malaysian premier. “It would be an even greater miracle if it can implement its plans and agenda immediately. It is not taking over just any government. It took over from a kleptocratic government which had raped the nation for years, destroyed its finances, undermined its administrative agencies, abused its laws, borrowed well beyond the ceiling permitted, placed the country on the path to bankruptcy, made the people dependent on the government with bribes and generally undermined the moral of the people.

“Of course, a lot of people were happy to enjoy corrupt money and many illegal favours. They would like these bad practices to continue. But the majority of the people knew the sad state of the country and ensured that the corrupt government was overthrown.”

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“In other countries when a common objective is achieved, the fragile unity would break up as each party would try to take over. A bitter struggle would ensue. In the end the coalition would break up. In one Middle Eastern country, the ensuing struggles ended up with the military seizing power. It was back to square one,” he analysed.

But this did not happen in Malaysia.

“The fragile opposition coalition was sustained, even with the inclusion of a non-member party as well as an independent individual who joined the cabinet. They formed a Government,” continued Mahathir. “And they seem to be working together, having formed a cabinet without any written agreement as to who takes what. This is the 2nd miracle. The cabinet seems to work. At least they can meet, discuss and make decisions. Of course, many criticised their decisions. This is normal.”

“No government can have the approval of everyone every time,” noted the Malaysian prime minister. “The important thing is that this fragile cabinet is still functioning.”

“The fact is that the Malaysian economy and its currency are strong. The market and the detractors may not think so. But the government has faith in its financial and economic policies. And so do foreign and local investors.”

“Rome was not built in one day,” stated Mahathir.” When Malaysia was switching from an agro-based economy to an industrial economy, it also took time. But most of us could not remember and the young never saw the transition. Most were born when the transition was accomplished. It is difficult to imagine an agricultural Malaysia today.”

Mahathir said the transition will take time. “Perhaps two years or more from now,” he wrote. “We are going paperless and soon there will be cashless. Digitalisation is already happening and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is contributing towards increasing speed of work and transaction.”

Mahathir said waiting was frustrating even for him. “But wait we must.”

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“The world today is in a state of turmoil. No one is really doing well. Look at what is happening in Latin America, the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, even Australia,” he continued. “Only China, Japan, and South Korea are doing relatively well, but even the countries of Northeast Asia are having intractable problems.”

“Then look at Malaysia. We are stable, peaceful and the Government respects the law. We are removing draconian laws or suspending them pending abolishment or amendment. People feel safe travelling anywhere in the country. During the celebration of the New Year 60 to 80 thousand people gathered to enjoy the shows. This cannot happen even in some developed countries.”

“Yes. Malaysia is recovering from the disasters caused by the previous kleptoctatic government. Even now we are enjoying better governance,” he said. “Give the Government a little bit of time and participate fully in the Shared Prosperity Policies, and in two years time you will realise that the direction of the Government is right.”

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