Najib to Pakatan: Congrats on spooking the market with RM1 trillion figure

  • Nation
  • Friday, 25 May 2018

PETALING JAYA: Former premier Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has hit out at the new administration for its statements on federal government debt via a sarcasm-laced Facebook post on Friday (May 25).   

“Now that the truth is revealed about this ‘RM1 trillion national debt’, we congratulate the new government for unnecessarily spooking the market which has led to sharp falls of our stock exchange this week," said Najib.   

He took a swipe at the new administration for the “debacle”, stating that he hoped and prayed that Pakatan Harapan government ministers would be more careful in making assertions in future.   

“This debacle has led to real losses to stock market investors and our GLICs (Government Linked Investment Companies) such as EPF, KWAP, Khazanah and Tabung Haji,” added Najib.   

In his post, Najib said that he was glad that Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng “came clean” in his Thursday statement (May 24) on how the official federal government debt remains at RM686.8bil.   

He said this is 50.8% of the Gross Domestic Product, and not 65% or RM1 trillion as previously claimed.  

The Pekan MP said the level of 50.8% is much lower than the 103.4% reached during the first reign of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.   

According to him, the previous Barisan Nasional government had always complied with international public debt reporting guidelines as defined by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and termed the 50.8% as a “universally accepted measurement”.  

“Contingent obligations, such as guarantees, have never been included in the official measurement of government debt, not even during Tun Mahathir's previous reign," said Najib.

“The government had given these guarantees to certain entities it owns to help lower their financing cost. These are typically long-term obligations backed with revenue-generating assets,” he added.

Najib also commented on Public Private Partnership (PPP) or private finance initiative (PFI) leases, saying that these are “operating expenses” for much needed social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals and therefore not debts.

“The previous Barisan government has been transparent and had never hidden these figures revealed by the Finance Minister. All these figures are published in Treasury Reports, BNM reports, Accountant General reports, Auditor General Reports every year without fail,” said Najib.

He said that market analysts, economists and investors are all well aware of these numbers, which are manageable and can be serviced, adding that this is “a fact confidently admitted by the Finance Minister himself".

“Therefore, we did not hide RM300bil of debts or falsified figures as alleged. The spade had always been called a spade as per universally accepted guidelines,” said Najib.

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