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No Cabinet reshuffle during my time: Mahathir

PETALING JAYA Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has confirmed that there will be no Cabinet reshuffle while he is in the post.

In an interview with BFM's the Breakfast Grille, Dr Mahathir said the current ministers were all new to the job.

When asked if he would consider replacing Education Minister Maszlee Malik, he replied with a resounding no.

"If I change a minister and take in a new minister... the candidates I have are all new. This present minister has got one year's experience."

Dr Mahathir added that getting a new minister does not mean that it would be better.

He said when a new prime minister succeeds him, perhaps there might be a new Cabinet.

However, he said whenever there was a Cabinet reshuffle, more problems were created and it did not solve any issues.

"That is why I am not keen on solving my problems by changing people," he said.

During the interview, Dr Mahathir also said he would honour his promise to be only an interim prime minister.

"I promised I would be an interim prime minister, and I will do so. I will keep my promise. But I have to make sure I solve most of the major problems before a handover.

"A fixed period is difficult for me to work," he said.

He also spoke about troubled national airline Malaysia Airlines.

Dr Mahathir said they were still looking for solutions and the situation with the airline has not changed, with losses remaining high despite the previous government giving the airline RM6 billion (S$2 billion) and sacking 6,000 people.

He said the government is open to the idea of a part of the company being sold off to foreign companies.

"We are not against that idea, but there are some people who are very sentimental. Perhaps they want to see MAS owned entirely by Malaysians but there are no Malaysian investors strong enough to take it up," he said.

Khazanah, Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund, is the sole shareholder of the airline, taking it private in 2014.

CONFIDENT

Touching on the current economic uncertainty, Dr Mahathir said he is confident the country can weather the storm, saying there are people who "know some ways".

"This country, if well managed, can escape the recession. We have been attacked before and we have come out of it," he said.

"We have with us people who are conscious about these things (and) who know some ways of avoiding the decline in the economy," he added. - THE STAR

WORLD