KUALA LUMPUR: Former finance minister II Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani believes that the way forward for Malaysia is to have political stability and good leadership to steer the country in the right direction.
Johari, who will be contesting for the Titiwangsa parliamentary seat which he held for one term from 2013 to 2018, pointed out that Malaysia needed long term development policies instead of populist policies which are not beneficial.
“The rakyat need to understand that there are sacrifices to be made if we are to progress and move forward towards a better future.
Economic growth depends on the influx of foreign investments, and the country must have a good crop of firm and forward thinking leaders who can bring political stability which attracts investors.
“In the last couple of years, the country has seen three prime ministers helming the country and this is not the right signal to be sending,” he said in an interview with local news portal, FMT.
He noted that the country needs capable leaders and there cannot be dependence on just one person, as he made reference to some of the best football teams in the world being at the top of the game because they worked very well as a team.
Johari said that the country will need to implement policies that may be unpopular but beneficial for the country in the long run.
“If we just want to be popular then we risk facing all sorts of problems. One example is Sri Lanka where popular policies brought an accumulation of debt which led to the country’s economic collapse.
“The Covid-19 pandemic added to Sri Lanka’s woes and their economy suffered as a result because they did not diversify.
“Malaysia’s total debt was RM686 billion after 61 years, but in the last couple of years, we have added almost RM350 billion to that. The country is paying the price for the lack of political stability and good policies,” he opined.
He sees growth cultivated from foreign investment instead of cash handouts to the Rakyat as the way forward to revitalise the economy.
Johari shared that another factor that attracts investors is by having a good education system, which he feels needs to be reviewed every five years or so that the country is able to produce a skilled and competent workforce that is required by the market, apart from having a better understanding of human resource needs of large companies and conglomerates.
“We keep on producing graduates and everyone is chasing after good grades, but good results are not necessarily relevant to industries and their needs.
“Malaysia is still ahead of neighbouring countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines in terms of global competitiveness index and is still a preferred destination for investment.
“However Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines are attracting more foreign investment than us. Something must be wrong somewhere,” he said.
He added that Malaysia are not attracting the kind of investments that match the talent pool.
In the coming General Election (GE-15), he will be contesting for the Parliamentary seat of Titiwangsa once again, and Johari’s biggest challenger will be none other than Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) former Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad, the former Shah Alam member of Parliament.
Other candidates vying for the seat are Khairuddin Abu Hassan from Pejuang and Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) Rosni Adam.
Coming from humble beginnings in Kampung Pandan, Johari believes that he knows the people of Titiwangsa better and can therefore provide better insights where their needs are concerned.
Titiwangsa is a key bustling area encompassing Setapak, Kampung Baru, Taman Maluri and Kampung Pandan, with an electorate of more than 80,700 voters.