PUTRAJAYA, Oct 12 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad admitted that his 22 years in office may have been marred by corruption, but the former prime minister contended that the country still flourished under his policies.
In an interview with news portal Malaysiakini, Dr Mahathir admitted that he may have had some bad policies during his time as Malaysia’s prime minister but insisted that it did not stop the country’s development.
“There was corruption, for example, but not to the extent that it stops the development of this country.
“The country grew much faster during my time than before, and that was because some good policies were implemented,” Dr Mahathir was quoted saying.
Dr Mahathir’s administration saw a wave of privatisation in the 1990s, which detractors said have caused cronyism and corruption to flourish among those connected to the status quo.
The longest-serving prime minister said that although he was criticised, most Malaysians still appreciated his work.
“I think while I may have, in the eyes of some people, done something wrong, but in the eyes of the majority, I think they appreciate what has happened to them.
“People tell me that they benefited, they still say ‘thank you’ to me,” he said, adding that some even asked him why he had stepped down so soon.
Dr Mahathir, who helmed the country from 1981 to 2003, told the portal that he did have some regrets during the time, including his “failure” in being unable to “change” the Malays.
On whether Malaysia was on track to becoming a developed nation as in his Vision 2020, Dr Mahathir said that the country may have lost its focus to put emphasis on becoming a high income nation while other advances, such as sciences, research and industrialisation were not addressed.