Govt will not curtail business freedom, says PM


The new Pakatan Harapan government will not curtail business freedom with too many laws that will burden industry players, said Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He said the government is more keen to see more parties making business freer and easier without too many legal restrictions.

“We welcome either domestic or foreign direct investment (FDI). FDI is limited to bringing in capital and technologies into the country, building factories and producing products for the local and export markets.

“We find that Malaysians are competent in development and are able to build our own cities. We have to determine the needs of the people and all these opportunities will be opened to local companies,” he said during a briefing session to RTM and Bernama at his residence in Seri Kembangan yesterday.

Dr Mahathir said the government would only open this opportunity to foreign companies if there are no local expertise in any particular area or mega infrastructure project, but it would be carried out through open tender.

“If there is something doubtful or unusual about the tenders, we will not hesitate to investigate,” he added.

The prime minister said the new government would also conduct economic performance studies, including the country’s actual debts and monetary outflows.

He added that the public should not be upset or suspicious on the intentions of the new government, as it only wanted to clean up and reduce the country’s economic problems.

Dr Mahathir said there were individual and business people who were forced to pay more taxes than they were required by the previous government.

He said the new government under him would try to retrieve the money, but it needs more information from the victims. “We want to know who forced this, how much they had to pay and if they were required to pay the taxes in full,” Dr Mahathir said at the briefing.

The prime minister said these people were approached by Inland Revenue Board (IRB) to pay up and if they did not, they would be blacklisted and have their passports impounded, which meant they would be barred from leaving the country.

Their account books were also seized and raids were conducted, Dr Mahathir said, adding that all these were actions to disrupt their businesses if they did not heed the IRB’s instructions. In the meantime, Dr Mahathir said he was unhappy with the Barisan Nasional government’s policy related to banking institutions.

“Right now, to prevent money laundering, banks say they cannot give out loans of more than RM50,000 and this affects businesses. It is disruptive.

“We do not want the banks to impose this condition even if it was a requirement by the previous government. “The banks should consider each loan application based on the feasibility of the project,” he said.