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Mahathir: I'll pass the baton to Anwar as promised

  • Mahathir says there is no necessity of bringing the issue of him completing a full 5-year term to the PH presidential council as the council has already made a decision on the succession plan. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily
  • Mahathir: China will always remain our good friend. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 2 (Sin Chew Daily) -- Prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has often been labeled a pro-Japan and anti-China leader due to his frequent visits to Japan and his decision to review major infrastructural projects involving Chinese investors.

He defended himself that Malaysia has always been very friendly to China and has remained a close trade partner with the country.

During an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily, the prime minister said the Chinese government understands Malaysia's financial situation.

He said the government would restart the east coast rail link (ECRL) project if the scale of the project is reduced, with the consent of Beijing, adding that the two countries are still negotiating although no time frame has been set.

Tun Mahathir also said it would not be easy to cancel a project as the government has to make huge compensation for it.

Issue of a full 5-year term non-existent

On PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim becoming the eighth prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Mahathir said he hoped to remain prime minister for a little longer than two years as he had to fix the many problems left behind by the previous BN administration.

He confided that Anwar had not objected to this notion.

"He has always shown me his full support, and has never mentioned to me he wants to be PM early."

However, Tun Mahathir stressed that he would keep his promise of handing over the power to Anwar in two years' time.

He also said there was no necessity of bringing the issue of him completing a full 5-year term to the Pakatan Harapan presidential council as the council had already made a decision on the succession plan.

Malays still need government protection

On the need of Malays relying on government protection, the prime minster admitted that the failure of the Malays could be attributed to their culture, and as such the new government would re-educate the Malays and instill the right attitude in them right at the school level.

Nevertheless, he insisted that the Malays are generally still poorer than the Chinese and the PH government would therefore continue to provide assistance to them.

Tun Mahathir also commended finance minister Lim Guan Eng and economic affairs minster Datuk Seri Azmin Ali for doing a superb job considering the heavy debt problem faced by the country.

"We expected huge budgetary deficit for 2019 but it is not as big as we anticipated!"

He said he had chosen Guan Eng as the country's first finance minister in more than 40 years because of his outstanding performance as Penang chief minister.

As for MCA, all that the prime minister could advise the party is to "close shop", as it no longer represents the Chinese community of Malaysia, or anyone.

 

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