Two years in office? I could leave earlier, or even later, Dr M says

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks at a press conference after chairing the weekly Cabinet meeting at Kompleks Perdana Putra in Putrajaya June 6, 2018. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks at a press conference after chairing the weekly Cabinet meeting at Kompleks Perdana Putra in Putrajaya June 6, 2018. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 ― Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the two year timeframe in office he gave himself was not set in stone and he considers it a mere suggestion.

Malay daily Sinar Harian reported that Dr Mahathir’s priority is on improving the Malaysian economy and problems in good governance after he led the Pakatan Harapan alliance to victory in the recent polls against Barisan Nasional (BN).

“I could be done with my work earlier or it could take longer. My priority is to return the nation’s wealth and improve the nation’s economy so we become stronger. If possible my short-term intention is to address all our problems.

“Money is not a priority if I became successful. What is important is the result of my work. This is what I work hard for,” Dr Mahathir reportedly said.

Malaysia’s fourth and seventh prime minister said other priorities he has on his plate besides the 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB) financial scandal include improving the civil service.

Although he said he was confident in dealing with the majority of problems, Dr Mahathir admitted he is concerned that the civil service has been damaged by the former BN government.

“It’s not just the financial issues, but how damaged the government’s machinery has become. We have found government officers who are not serving the country but they served their party. Some to the point of fanaticism.

“They would go out and campaign, smear their rivals but now they must work for the rivals that they insulted in the past. I’m not certain about handling this. Like it or not we now have to work with those who attacked us,” he reportedly said.

Dr Mahathir added he cannot simply sack them as there would be no replacements despite the terrible quality of some of the officers in the civil service.

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