Economics/Class Relations

Malaysia’s bold plan to turn its economy around

September 2, 2023


Late last month, I interviewed Malaysia’s recently elected prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, in the capital city of Perak, Ipoh.


Ibrahim had been visiting a rural neighboring area without any internet connectivity—something he hopes a new deal with Elon Musk’s Starlink will resolve.


We met at a wellness resort he likes to visit, The Banjaran, which is built on top of a hot springs that creates natural saunas in limestone caves. I have to admit when I joined Fortune as editor two years ago, I did not envision a trip to the Malaysia jungle—but it made for a fun place to have a wide-ranging conversation.


A lot is weighing on Ibrahim. After a 25-year path to the top, which involved a decade in jail for bogus charges, Ibrahim has had lots of time to think about how to save his country from corruption, racism, and an economic slump.


He recently announced his 10-year vision, the Madani Economy, which hinges on convincing foreign companies to bring high-paying jobs to Malaysia and clearing obstacles for them to make it a good place to do business—including ensuring them that he will stay in power a full term.


He recently convinced Elon Musk of just that, and announced a deal to bring Starlink and Tesla into Malaysia, over a competing bid from neighboring Indonesia.


Check out the full conversation with Ibrahim, below, as well as a follow-up interview from my colleague Maiwen Zhang, here.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has a bold plan to rid his country of corruption and turn its economy around, starting with Elon Musk
Aug. 31, 2023
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