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Monday, August 29, 2011

I was prime minister for far too long, says Mahathir

I was prime minister for far too long, says Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR - Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad enjoyed working during his 22 years as prime minister but said he had been in the position for far too long.

"Unfortunately, in 1998, we had some problems with the currency and some personalities. Because of that, I had to stay back and put things in order before stepping down.

"But I enjoyed 22 years of working and until now I still work from 8.30am to 6pm, such as meeting people, writing and reading," he told a crowd at the BookFest@Malaysia 2011.

The magnetic Dr Mahathir, 86, drew droves of shoppers to the launch of the Chinese edition of his memoirs A Doctor in the House (yi sheng dang jia) at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre yesterday.

While maintaining a consistent smile, the senior statesman took candid questions fielded by members of the public in a question-and-answer session.

"(To) People who retire, please don't just go to sleep and stay at home. Do something because if you are interested in doing things, you will live longer," Dr Mahathir said to laughter and applause from the crowd.

Responding to a question from a man named Pong, who asked about his recipe for success in turning around Malaysia's economy during the 1997-1998 financial crisis, Dr Mahathir said: "If you keep your money under your pillow, the economy will never grow.

"But if you spend the money and somebody makes a profit, the government is always very happy because 28% of the profit goes back to the government."

Star Publications (M) Bhd is the media partner of BookFest@Malaysia 2011, which runs until Sept 4.

- The Star

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