Friday, March 27, 2009

New Malaysia PM plans rapid reform-source

New Malaysia PM plans rapid reform-source
Mar 27, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - Malaysia's prime minister-in-waiting will announce a new cabinet within a week of taking office and plans radical economic reforms that will transform the way the country does business, a government source told Reuters.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak will take over as premier 'soon after' the end of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) congress on Saturday, the senior source said on Friday. UMNO is the main party in government.

The source spoke on condition of anonymity and had direct knowledge of the plans which were the first concrete indication of Najib's economic and political policies.

'Najib realises that he will need to move fast and that he needs to undertake major reforms, so an extensive plan has been prepared and is just waiting for final approval and to be rolled out once he is in office,' said the source.

'We expect many of these changes and reforms to be in place in less than a year, within 100 days of Najib taking office,' he said.

Plans include reviewing the unwieldy Prime Minister's department which oversees law, parliament and internal security among other issues and streamlining ministries like Education and Higher Education as well as setting up a new Energy Ministry.

The government will also change management at top companies that are owned or part owned by the state, including plantations-to-property conglomerate Sime Darby .

Sime recently proposed the government build a new airport on land it owned, a proposal the government recently rejected.

'The aim is to enhance efficiency, because the government feels that the government-linked companies need to move away from its dependence on the government for its profits,' said the source.

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