BBC HARD TALK with Malaysian Former Prime Minister 2/3


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Dr Mahathir Mohamed talks to Stephen Sackur 2/3 ——————————————– During his term in office, Dr Mahathir turned Malaysia into a regional high-tech manufacturing, financial, and telecommunications hub through his economic policies based on corporate nationalism, known as the various “Malaysia Plans” which set out the government middle-term objectives. These policies with strong Keynesian tendency remained in effect almost to the end of his tenure in office. Dr Mahathir is credited with spearheading the phenomenal growth of the Malaysian economy, now one of the largest in South East Asia. Growth between 1988 and 1997 averaged over ten percent and living standards rose twentyfold, with poverty relatively almost eradicated and social indicators such as literacy levels and infant mortality rates becoming almost on par with developed countries. During this period, Dr Mahathir embarked on various large scale national projects, such as the North-South Expressway, Multimedia Super Corridor, the planned capital city of Putrajaya, Johor’s Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), the Bakun Dam in Sarawak, and the Petronas Twin Towers. During the Asian financial crisis of 1997, IMF had prescribed a recovery package for Malaysia, but Dr Mahathir defied international pressure, his then rejecting the package. Though economic prosperity has been mixed since then, Mahathir argued that Malaysia’s recovery was relatively faster and better

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