Malaysian PM Najib takes swipe at former leader

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M'sia PM takes thinly veiled swipe ahead of general election, which must be held before August

KUALA LUMPUR Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak took a swipe at a former leader for "harping on the past" while taking a confrontational approach.

"It is true that Malaysia had a former leader who had a confrontational foreign policy, who acted out of anger and seems unable to let go of old grievances," said Mr Najib.

"This government, on the other hand, has been forging new bonds in the region and beyond and has been strengthening (ties) with old friends," he added when delivering his keynote address at the World Capital Markets Symposium yesterday.

He said this approach will benefit the well-being of the rakyat, compared to "harping on past quarrels", the Star reported.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad is highly critical of Mr Najib's administration and is now the chairman of opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan.


Mr Najib also said the "excess of crony capitalism of a former era" must remain in the past as the current administration has renewed focus on good governance.

In a separate development, Malaysia's Islamic party Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) has said that non-Muslims will have only a secondary role in the government should the party wins at the next general election, which must be held before August.

Muslims in the cabinet will set the policy direction while the non-Muslim ministers will be tasked with carrying out what had been decided, said Abdul Hadi Awang, president of PAS.

"If PAS rules, it (the administration) will be divided into two. One, a cabinet that decides on national policies.

"This must consist of people who adopt the national ideology and faith," he was quoted as saying on Sunday by The Malaysia Insight news site, during a dialogue with Indian non-governmental organisations in Penang.

"This cabinet will appoint an executive cabinet to carry out the policies and the members can be non-Muslims, appointed based on their expertise," he added.

Mr Abdul Hadi courted controversy last month when he said the Malaysian government should be led only by Malay-Muslims.