KUALA LUMPUR: The weaknesses in governance and the widespread systemic corruption are critical issues that must be addressed immediately before tackling the structural problems that undermine the country’s economic strength, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

During a live address to the nation tonight, Anwar said he emphasised the corruption issue because it is the primary cancer that weakens the country’s economy, eroding morals and diminishing people’s confidence.

He said corruption occurs at every level, top to bottom, burdening the people with the whims of certain groups seeking commissions before giving any approvals.

“In the first year itself, I stressed on the need to stop the practise of direct negotiation in government procurement, referred to as negotiated tender, and to transition to an open tender system,” he said.

Earlier, Anwar stated that the stagnant economy of the people, the lacklustre business ecosystem, and the weak financial position of the federal government are the structural problems that are decreasing the country’s economic strength.