From ‘richest state’ to ‘bankrupt nation’, Azmin Ali says struggling with economic clean-up

From ‘richest state’ to ‘bankrupt nation’, Azmin Ali says struggling with economic clean-up

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Malaysia’s economy is a “mess” and the man in charge of drafting policies to turn it around has admitted to having a tough time.

In an interview with London-based Financial Times, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government is having to relook and renegotiate many exorbitant mega projects and deals undertaken by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration led by Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“The whole economy is a mess. I’m moving from the richest state in Malaysia to a bankrupt nation so it’s a major challenge for me to chart new policies,” the outgoing Selangor mentri besar was quoted as saying.

PH has promised to get to the bottom of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal and has, so far, cancelled the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail and Mass Rapid Transit line 3 projects to make up for the RM1 trillion debt incurred during the Najib administration.

These projects would cost billions of ringgits to construct.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also hinted that the East Coast Rail Link that connects the west and east peninsula will also reviewed.

“What we need now is major structural reform, [using the] principles of governance, transparency and accountability,” Azmin was quoted as saying.

As a result of these moves, the report said government-linked corporations that made up a big percentage of the main stock market were also slowing down investments.

“Nothing is moving right now the GLCs are in a freeze while the new government works out what it wants to do with them,” an adviser to several large GLCs was quoted as saying.

Azmin, in the news report, said the Putrajaya’s main focus currently was to improve governance and remove political pressure on GLCs instead of giving in to calls to privatise some companies, which could “shake up” ownership.