KUALA LUMPUR: Strategic assets would never be sold if Barisan Nasional was still administering the country, said former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“If Barisan is still in power, I can guarantee that we will not opt to sell strategic assets such as Andaz Hotel in Singapore, IHH Berhad, and various other shares and strategic blocks, ” he said.
Najib was responding to the announcement by Economic Affair Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, who told the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (Oct 10) that a total of 84 assets owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd were disposed when Najib was the board chairman between 2009 and 2018.
Najib said Azmin did not mention the value of the 84 assets when he made the remark.
He also said that Khazanah’s value had increased under the Barisan government, adding that only un-strategic assets were sold, while strategic assets were acquired.
“In addition, Khazanah Nasional Bhd lost RM6.3bil and its asset fell to RM25bil.
"I want to point out a principle that if we sell assets that give a return of 15% just to pay a debt interest of 4%, is this logical?” he asked.
“We consider this step to be detrimental to the country and it will have a huge impact on the country’s economy," he told reporters when met at the parliament lobby on Thursday (Oct 10).
Najib also responded to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng who said that land worth more than RM4bil was sold by the Barisan government between 2010 and 2017.
He said that the drop in national revenue was due to the government’s estimate of the 2019 budget allocation based on average crude oil price of US$70 per barrel.
“We have said before, do not use US$70 per barrel as the figure. It is unrealistic. The global crude oil price is now US$55 per barrel. This is a big difference that gave an impact to national revenue.”
Najib also said that the government’s mistake in replacing the GST with the SST caused a shortfall of RM20bil to RM24bil in revenue per year.
“And this does not include refunds, ” he added.
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