Malaysia must overcome corruption and carry out more market-oriented reforms if it is to move up from being a middle-income economy, CIMB Group chief Datuk Seri Nazir Razak and younger brother to the prime minister has told Financial Times (FT).
He also told the FT that his eldest brother had “a hell of a task” because “worldwide, no one has really been able to reform from incumbency”.
Nazir's elder brother and the country's sixth PM, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has been sprearheading a slew of governmental, economic and social reforms to transform the country, but Malaysia's top banker seemed to suggest that it was not enough in an interview published in the international business paper today.
“(Corruption) remains a problem and it is something that needs to be combated,” he told FT.
Nazir told the paper that Malaysia could consider granting an amnesty for those involved in minor corruption, as has been done in Hong Kong and other countries, an idea that the Najib administration has resisted.
“You could argue that when you do that, you will get a lot less resistance from the vested interests, which is always the problem; then say, the past is the past and we all start from scratch. I still believe that’s what is needed,” Nazir was quoted as saying.
He highlighted that there was “still a need to strengthen market forces in general and that is about rolling back government in business, both in terms of bureaucracies but also in terms of its direct involvement.”
Nazir told the paper Putrajaya must push reforms that give more free rein to market forces and roll back government ownership of business through privatizations, such as the public listing of Malaysian palm oil giant Felda Global Ventures Holdings last week, which would also draw in major world business players like Axiata.