KUALA LUMPUR ― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today acknowledged his long-time friend and ally Tun Daim Zainuddin as a highly influential person, amid cronyism concerns within Putrajaya.
However, the prime minister said Daim’s role as government adviser and consultant is astute in both business and politics.
“He does have [influence], well he is a consultant. People need advisers. People with certain knowledge. And he is a man knowledgeable about businesses and politics with lots of experience and when we pay our RM1 trillion government debt, his expertise is useful.
“On the other hand he has moved around and met people in and out of the country. He would be a good judge of the quality of people we should employ,” said Dr Mahathir said on BFM’s the Breakfast Grille show this morning.
Dr Mahathir continued to defend the Daim even when it was pointed out in the interview that many people have observed that any decision concerning government linked companies will not happen unless it receives the 81-year-old’s stamp of approval.
The PM said that Daim’s recommendation comes with good reason.
Dr Mahathir also dismissed questions concerning his close relations with certain corporate figures, including Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, saying he meets “a lot” of people and that not all of them were apple polishers.
“It’s not just Al-Bukhary. A lot of others meet me. They talk to me and criticise me. It’s not just the Malays but the Chinese and Indians too,” he said.