Kuala Lumpur – To achieve a structured economy, a person’s culture and attitude has to change, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“If you don’t know how to handle money, you will never make it and become rich.
“Some people think money that is gained should only be used for spending and not for investing or saving purposes,” the former premier said today at a special forum ‘The Malaysian Dilemma’ held in the city by the Centre For A Better Tomorrow (CENBET).
Citing the Malays as an example, Dr Mahathir said the New Economic Policy (NEP), adopted in 1971, was designed to give the community a greater share of the economy.
He said it was easy to draw a plan to accommodate the policy but implementing it was very difficult.
“We have created a lot of things for them (the Malays)… we give them licences, contracts and APs (Approved Permits). Do you know what they did? They sold the licences, contracts and APs.
“For a short while they became rich and then they came back for more licences, contracts and APs,” he said.
He said, because of this particular scenario, it had made others say that the NEP did not help with the restructuring of the Malaysian society but only “enriched the cronies of the prime minister”.
Dr Mahathir stressed that when he was in power, he stuck to his policy of not letting any of his family members to enter politics or do businesses with the government.
He admitted that he has many friends and relatives who remain poor up to this day because they have never benefitted from his administration years.
“Nevertheless, I was accused of cronyism. But that has to happen. If you want to enrich people, then you have to give them opportunities. Some of them will do well and when they do well, they are called ‘cronies’. If they fail, nobody bothers,” he said. – Awani