Parliament in uproar as Najib, Guan Eng trade barbs


KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat was in uproar when Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (pic, left) traded barbs with former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pic, right) over several controversial issues.

The incident was sparked when Lim described the previous Barisan Nasional government as being slick in trying to conceal 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) debts under the off-balance sheet.

Najib (BN-Pekan) interjected and told Lim not to give a misleading picture, saying that the off-balance sheet should not be included in the country's debt.

"Please don't keep talking about 1MDB. Manage the country properly," Najib said.

To this, Lim asked Najib to acknowledge that the 1MDB scandal was "one of the largest scandals in the world" and added that it had burdened the present government with debts.

"If you say the government is not responsible for the debt, why not Pekan pay for it. I can send you the invoices and vouchers," he said.

Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) reminded Lim that not all of the alleged RM1 trillion debt is connected to 1MDB.

Khairy said that the 1MDB debt was only RM38.3bil, although Lim made it seem as though the nation's entire debt was linked to it.

"Your narrative is all about 1MDB. You have to be honest," he said.

Lim maintained that the country was put in a dire financial situation because of Najib.

Najib had earlier said that the nation's debt had risen to around RM820bil under Pakatan this year compared to the RM687bil left by the previous administration.

A shouting match the ensued between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan lawmakers, forcing Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming to call for order in the House.

However, the shouting match continued when Lim demanded Najib clarify his recent allegation that the Pakatan government had sold the Malaysian consulate in Hong Kong.

"After checking , it was found that the decision to sell the consulate was made under your (Najib's) administration before May 9 and it was done through direct negotiations for RM1.1bil," said Lim.

He added that the new government reviewed the deal in the best interest of the nation and put the building up for sale through open tender bidding.

"We manage to get an offer for RM1.6bil.

"This is the difference between us. We manage to get extra RM500mil for the people and the nation through an open tender unlike Barisan that wanted to sell it through direct negotiations," he said, before giving to Najib a chance to explain himself.

Najib however retorted, "Please answer the tunnel issue first."

This led to several opposition lawmakers interrupting by shouting "tunnel", before Nga intervened to restore order.

He advised opposition lawmakers to observe decorum in the House or leave if they were not interested to listen to Lim's reply.


   

Across The Star Online