Malaysian political icon Anwar Ibrahim, who is widely expected to become prime minister in around two years' time, is confident his country can rid itself of corruption in the wake of a multibillion dollar financial scandal — and regain the interest of foreign investors in the process.
"We're on the right track," he told CNBC's Akiko Fujita on the sidelines of the CLSA Investors' Forum in Hong Kong. He added that he was satisfied with the now four-month-old government's "profound" commitment to governance and institutional reforms that include implementing an independent judiciary and impartial law enforcement agencies.
Those constructs were missing under the rule of former leader Najib Razak, who is facing criminal charges for his alleged role in misappropriated funds from state investment vehicle 1Malaysia Development Berhad. Many believe that it was Najib's hold over state structures that enabled him to stay in power long after reports of financial misuse were first reported in 2015.
"1MDB is clearly an example how the entire system failed," said Anwar, a former deputy prime minister. Once independent civil services, judiciary and legal systems are established under the new administration, it won't be possible for another case like 1MDB to occur, he forecast.
In an environment with credible agencies and efficient services to rid the county of graft — elements that will not only make business more efficient but also cheaper — incoming foreign investment is sure to rise, Anwar said.