MALAYSIAN prime minister Mahathir Mohamad yesterday said any liberalisation of the country's financial sector would have to undergo 'a complete review' following the recent attacks on the ringgit. He told the Sunday Morning Post that removing barriers could make the Malaysian economy too vulnerable to large foreign institutions. Dr Mahathir said reform commitments under regional trade forums, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation and the World Trade Organisation, would be included in the review. 'We have to re-examine because of what happened in the financial markets,' he said. 'Our banks and financial institutions are not strong enough to withstand the huge foreign institutions. If our banks lose money then we could lose our banks. We have to re-examine every aspect in detail before we can go forward.' His comments followed a keynote address at the annual general meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in which he repeated recent bitter attacks upon currency speculators. Dr Mahathir said that while the IMF's intentions were good, the 'methods employed are not often very helpful'. 'That is why we have stopped borrowing from the IMF,' he said. He said he backed the closer integration of world economies and the growth in trade. 'We can have globalisation but it cannot be anarchic,' he said. 'It cannot be devoid of rules and regulations. If we live in a single world, if we visualise the world as a single country, then we need some regulation, otherwise people will run amok.' The decision to order a review of key Apec and WTO principles could have wide-ranging implications for the nascent regional trade liberalisation. Next year, Malaysia will play a highly influential role in regional trade issues as the host of Apec. Dr Mahathir's comments are expected to trigger a reassessment of the core issues underlying the closer trade and financial integration of regional economies. He said the proposed review had been forced on it because of the economic damage caused by the currency speculators. 'They cannot do this to us and expect us to be very open to them,' he said. Asked whether he would enlist the support of regional countries in the bid to prevent currency speculation, he said: 'The region is very weak. There are pressures to open up the markets. They are in no position to say no.' Dr Mahathir said he would 'not give up' his fight against the speculators. 'We can turn around the economy. We will map out our strategy,' he said. 'Perhaps we are in a better position than a lot of other countries. I know we are up against these people, because they like to say 'I told you so'. They were telling us the economy was overheating and should slow down. Then they did this. We would not have slowed down but for this.' He said he had information that trade in currencies was 'actually 20 times bigger than real trade in goods and services'.