PETALING JAYA,Feb 9: The current crop of government ministers are not “doing work” and have little understanding of what the people and the country need, says former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
In the second part of a special sit-down interview with FMT, Mahathir also said the Perikatan Nasional-led administration is “not functioning”.
“(The current leaders) are not very impressive, I must say,” he said. “The ministers seem to be doing no work at all. We don’t see them doing anything, and we know that ministers are refusing to see people.”
He said the Cabinet lacked an understanding of what people need, the feelings of the public and what they as leaders can do to effect change.
“Even the prime minister is a difficult man to see. When I was prime minister, I saw at least three to four delegations a day. I talked to them, I knew what they were thinking about, and I listened to what was being discussed in public so I could make adjustments.”
“But here, they may have some advisors but apparently they are not giving the right advice.”
He said that while some inactivity can be chalked up to the Covid-19 movement restrictions, “the level of service offered by the government today is below par.”
In addition, he believes this lack of productivity runs counter to the government’s efforts to revive an economy ravaged by the pandemic.
“For example, ministers refuse to see investors, refuse to see anybody … and when you refuse to see them, people will consider you as unfriendly.
“During my time, I introduced a business friendly government, that was why despite the racial economic divide, we were growing at 7% (a year).”
He said that the “government of today is actually not functioning,” adding that this, along with poor governance and corruption, was one of the main reasons Malaysia has struggled to attract foreign investment.
The United Nations trade agency UNCTAD said foreign investment in Malaysia had dropped by 68% to US$2.5 billion in 2020, a far greater drop than the 31% decline that Southeast Asia experienced as a whole.