PRIME Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the Doha Forum in Qatar today admitted that even he was frightened by some of his decisions.
Speaking in an interview on stage after giving a speech at the forum, the 94-year-old leader was asked if he had ever “danced with the devil” by making decisions that his own conscience didn’t fully agree with.
“At times I get frightened with my own decisions but you have to try out something in order to solve an issue which can’t be solved through conventional means,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Mahathir had also said that his decision to peg the ringgit was unconventional as far as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was concerned, referring to the way he handled the ringgit during the Asian Financial Crisis in 1998,
He also said he hoped the IMF would have learnt that unconventional solutions were sometimes necessary.
However, he admitted that he had made decisions which in the end did not work.
“There are things… during my time I made decisions I thought would solve the problem, but in the end, I found not effective.”
Dr Mahathir reiterated that his biggest regret was not being able to change the “culture” of the country’s largest ethnic group to ensure that all races in Malaysia developed and attained wealth equitably.
“In our country, we have three major races but they are not developing equally in their search for wealth. I thought this was a problem of culture, of their value system.
“So, I tried to change the value system of the ethnic group which fell behind, but I failed in that effort,” he said.
Dr Mahathir is currently in Qatar for a working visit where, besides attending the Doha Forum, he also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Qatar.