KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — The government should stop blaming the country’s poor economic clout on debts accumulated by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin said today.
During the debate over the Supplementary Supply Bill 2019, the Umno lawmaker accused the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition of trying to detract public attention from its inability to fulfill its electoral promises after 11 months on 1MDB as a bogey.
“The government cannot manage the country which is why we won the Cameron Highlands and Semenyih by-elections,” he said, referring to PH.
“They will also lose the upcoming Rantau by-elections too,” the Negri Sembilan MP predicted.
He also noted that under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, the deficit budget’s target was at 2.4 per cent, but that under PH it rose to 3.9 per cent after the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was abolished and replaced with the Sales and Service Tax (SST).
Khairy added that since PH took over, the national debt has been on the rise and due to the tax holiday which took place last year, prices of some goods dropped, with the government able to announce a deflation for the first time.
However, he said that the situation on the ground paints a different picture and that the current administration should not be in denial over reality.
“What about prices of goods? Do some research. Ask the rakyat if prices have dropped or not. Don’t live in denial.
“The picture given was that the abolishment of GST will reduce prices of goods. But that didn’t happen,” Khairy said.
He then questioned the government on how it can afford money during by-elections such as the RM1,000 Bantuan Sara Hidup for bachelors and other mega projects such as the third national car.
Khairy claimed fishermen, rice farmers and scholars were among those who needed the government’s aid but were not receiving it.
“It seems that the current narrative seems to be that the country’s RM1 trillion debt was due to 1MDB. I agree there is a lot of weakness in 1MDB and I hope it can be settled.
“But to say we have no money and we have to cut all subsidies and allowance because of 1MDB, that is not true,” he said.