TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s appointment as economic adviser to the four PAS-led states was unnecessary to help the states attract foreign direct investments (FDIs), said former prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
This is because the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) has never restricted its efforts only to states aligned with Putrajaya.
“As far as the federal government is concerned, any investments coming in would benefit the country as a whole,” FMT reported the Bera MP as saying after officiating the “Simposium Antarabangsa Aspirasi Bahasa Melayu” in Kuala Lumpur today (Sept 25).
“So there has never been a case of (potential foreign) investments in Kelantan being prohibited just because it was an opposition state.”
Ismail Sabri was referring to Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar’s recent announcement than an action plan for the group that’s been called the “state government four” or SG4 was in the works with Dr Mahathir set to serve as their unofficial adviser.
SG4 refers to the PAS-led states of Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis and Terengganu.
In addition to giving advice on effective governance to ensure the efficient management of the proposed grouping, Dr Mahathir’s role is also to connect the four states with investors from countries like Japan and South Korea that have good ties with the former premier.
Citing Selangor and Penang as an example, Ismail Sabri pointed out that despite being opposition states for several terms, both states were never left behind by the Barisan Nasional-led government when FDIs were concerned.
“The federal government would never ignore (opposition) states when it comes to foreign investments,” he stressed.
Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Dr Azmi Hassan had also pointed out previously that Dr Mahathir’s appointment as advisor is purely cosmetic and may not bring much benefit to the Perikatan Nasional (PN)-controlled states.
As such, there was no “tangible reason” for the coalition to appoint the 98-year-old politician as its adviser.
“Yes, Dr Mahathir has a wide and global network, but he is not the prime minister. Any FDI will still need to go through the Malaysian Investment Development Authority,” he was quoted as saying by NST on Sept 16.
“Even then, it is quite a strange move (by PN) as PN state governments are at odds with the federal government,” he observed.
The geostrategist further reckoned that the move to appoint Dr Mahathir as adviser was also to prove that PAS was still the kingmaker in PN and that the appointment was just a way for the party to “flex its muscles”.
“PAS, as the state government in all PN-led states, is showing that it can call the shots because, as we know, PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Dr Mahathir are at loggerheads,” he said. – Sept 25, 2023
Main pic credit: The Star