‘VESTED INTERESTS MAY BE HOLDING BACK REFORMS’: MALAYSIA MOVING BACK TO CRONY CAPITALISM UNDER DR MAHATHIR?

PETALING JAYA – Vested interests could be resisting some of the reforms that were promised by the government, said Khazanah Research Institute’s senior adviser Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

“So it is not easy. We are talking about trying to bring about reforms where there are strong vested interests who are going to resist reforms,” Jomo told reporters on the sidelines of the Malaysian Economic Convention 2019.

He highlighted the example of financing public healthcare.

“There are many options for example on how to finance healthcare. I am thinking about what are the most effective options, the best in the interest of the ordinary people: the public in this country. This is easier said than done. There are a lot of interests involved: the medical supplies, pharmaceutical supplies and private hospitals. All of them have their own interests and are trying to push their own interests but we have to protect the interests of the vast majority of people who cannot afford expensive drugs,” Jomo said.

“If you ask me if everything that the government has done is wonderful of course I cannot say that. Whether they should be doing more (reforms)? Of course I would like more to be done,” Jomo said.

“Reforms are not easy and my wishlist is very long and you can’t do everything at the same time. We need to prioritise and you can’t do everything which some party tells you to do. The most urgent problems for example today is the issue of 1MDB and its associated problems and the national debt,” he added.

– ANN

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