‘NO DEVALUATION OF THE RINGGIT’ – MAHATHIR SAYS TO STEADY THE LOCAL CURRENCY, VOWS TO STAY BUSINESS-FRIENDLY, INCREASE THE CONFIDENCE OF INVESTORS

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday that he will try to make the ringgit currency as steady as possible, and return billions of dollars lost in a graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

“We believe that we can get most of the 1MDB money back … we have to increase the confidence of investors in the administration,” he said at a press conference after being sworn in as the seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia.

He added that some of Malaysia’s debt was “too big” and needed to be renegotiated.

Mahathir said the new government would abolish “oppressive and unfair” laws and study the new Anti-Fake News Act and the National Security Council Act. – NST

DR M VOWS TO RECOVER 1MDB FUNDS IN SWITZERLAND, SINGAPORE

PETALING JAYA – Dr Mahathir Mohamad held his first press conference after becoming the seventh prime minister, wasting no time in setting the tone for his administration.

“As a government, we will ensure the constitution is upheld and the rule of law will guide us in our administration.

“Also, in terms of policy, I had mooted ideas of a business-friendly government a long time ago, and had even introduced the concept of Malaysia Inc.

“So we will follow through on that.

“More specifically, we will look towards having a very active stock market and increase the capitalisation of Bursa Malaysia,” he said, adding that PH already has at its disposal people with strong experience in economics and finance.

According to Mahathir, the people’s main concern in the country was the economy.

“The economy and finances of the country are the main things. We will have to focus on these two things: finances and economic management.”

Mahathir, who is Langkawi MP, said the message a PH government would send to the business community is that they can now push up prices in the stock market.

“That will ensure there should be no case for the devaluation of the ringgit. We will try to make the ringgit as steady as possible.

“Not like the petrol price being adjusted every few seconds,” he joked, adding that he will abolish the policy of “cash is king”.

Mahathir admitted that dealing with the country’s debts will be a priority for his administration.

“We think we can do quite a bit because we know where the money is.

“We need to renegotiate terms and amounts. Interest rates are too high. A lot of things need to be done to mitigate the situation.”

Asked if recovering funds alleged to have been taken from 1MDB was also a priority, Mahathir said he believed the money could be recovered.

“We believe we can get 1MDB money. We know the money is in the United States, Singapore and Switzerland, as well as ‘with Jho Low and Rosmah’,” he said referring to Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho and the former prime minister’s wife Rosmah Mansor.

Mahathir added that a fresh probe into the 1MDB scandal will now likely take place against those allegedly involved.

He said that he and his future administration will also get down to a lot of work from tomorrow, with the expected naming of his first Cabinet, after a meeting with the PH presidential council that comprises PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin. – FMT

NST / FMT

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