KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Malaysia needs to draw up highly competitive investment policies to attract more investments to help eradicate poverty, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said if Malaysia did not have such policies, good infrastructure and an efficient administration, many potential investors would turn to other Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia to invest.
“I just went to Indonesia and found that now many investors are keen to invest in Indonesia because its 270 million population offers a bigger market than Malaysia, which has a population of just over 30 million.
“The production cost in Indonesia is also lower than ours, so we need to find ways to overcome this,” he told a media conference at a forum on post-pandemic poverty in Malaysia, organised by the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM) here today.
Dr Mahathir said he believed good investment policies would spur the establishment of new industries, including on supply of components, and create more job opportunities.
“So (attracting) investment is one way to enrich the country. Without investments, the country will become poor and if investors are not treated well and lured by attractive policies, I believe people like Elon Musk would choose to go to Indonesia,” he added.
Earlier, in his speech, Dr Mahathir said poverty affected all races in this country but the problem was worse among the Malays, to the extent that sometimes they were forced to sell their properties including land in order to survive.
He said poverty should be eradicated but the success of efforts to take the Malays out of poverty partly depended on their will.
“If they do not respond well to opportunities to overcome poverty, then such efforts would not be successful because it depends on our ability and nature, whether we want to take the easy way out or otherwise,” he added.