Dr M: More govt assets could be sold to manage national debt

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is not ruling out the possibility of selling more assets – including land – to keep national debt at a manageable level, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Prime Minister said aside from the sale of the superyacht Equanimity to Genting Malaysia Bhd for US$126mil (RM514.14mil), any future sale of government assets would be to Malaysians.

"We still have some assets. In fact, we may, if necessary, even sell land belonging to the government.

"But of course we will sell it to Malaysians, not to foreigners. That will help reduce the debts," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby on Thursday (April 4).

"We see a possibility of reducing more debts through identifying assets of the government, which we can sell.

"So at the moment the process is going on, it's not static. It (national debt) is being lowered, being worked on all the time.

"I can't give the exact figure but I believe it has been reduced quite considerably," he added.

The Prime Minister also said the government had recovered money that was lost from Singapore, but did not reveal any details.

"We have been able to recover quite a lot of money that was lost, that was kept by Singapore. So that money helps to reduce the debt," he said.

Asked if the money was related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), Dr Mahathir said: "I will have to ask the Finance Minister. He has a better figure than me".

On the opposition's move to oppose the liquidation of government's asset, he said, "they can oppose, but they are not in power.

He added that this was their job as the opposition, but at the same time the government had do what they thought was right.

"During their time, they didn't oppose the selling land to foreigners. Now only they remember," said Dr Mahathir.