THE first thing Pakatan Harapan will do if it wins Putrajaya is to restore the strength of the ringgit, said Bersatu chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“We will consider whether currency controls should be installed again and will ensure that financial management is more transparent from a policy perspective,” said Dr Mahathir during his policy speech at Bersatu’s first annual general meeting in Shah Alam today.
The former prime minister cum finance minister, who put in foreign exchange controls to stabilise the ringgit during the 1997 financial crisis, said PH would also prioritise job creation.
“If need be, protection will be given to new industries until they can compete,” said Dr Mahathir who is also PH chairman.
Dr Mahathir, who is credited with turning Malaysia from an agrarian economy into a regional industrial powerhouse, said foreign direct investment meant bringing in new capital and technology to set up local manufacturing firms.
“These firms will then produce goods for local and export markets. The selling of land to foreigners for them to build townships is not FDI (foreign direct investment).”
He said reclaimed land would be administered by local governments and would not be given as freehold plots to anyone.
Dr Mahathir has been a strong critic of certain projects in Johor where reclaimed land is given to Chinese developers to build property that are then sold to Chinese buyers.
He said FDI firms must be manned by Malaysians.
“The labour and management in the FDI factories will comprise of Malaysians. The components and materials used must also come from the country.
“The industry for building car components will be promoted and the government will give grants for research and development,” said Dr Mahathir.
One of the milestones of Dr Mahathir’s administration was the setting up of national carmaker Proton.
Although initially successful, Proton has suffered huge losses over the past few years caused by falling demand. But while Proton itself has had problems, it spurred a whole industry of auto parts makers and other auto assemblers such as Inokom, Perodua and Modenas.
Proton was sold to China automaker Geely this year.
Dr Mahathir today said PH would also work to end corruption and impropriety in the public sector through “open concepts”
“This includes ministers and high ranking government officers. Electronic systems will also be put in to curb corruption.”
He said a PH government would quickly punish the corrupt.
“Officers who become rich too quickly will be investigated by the Internal Revenue Board and the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission so that they can explain their sudden wealth.”