Is kleptocracy fine if Malaysia can repay debt? Pua asks Wee

Pua also reminded Wee that he had never said the Sales and Services Tax (SST) would lower the price of goods. ― Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Pua also reminded Wee that he had never said the Sales and Services Tax (SST) would lower the price of goods. ― Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — DAP MP Tony Pua challenged MCA president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong today to admit that 1MDB was a global scandal involving billions of ringgit instead of trying to divert attention to other issues.

The Damansara MP said Wee was caught supporting former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1MDB when the latter said the state investment firm was “beneficial” and had “played an important role” in the country’s development.

“Is Dr Wee arguing that it is perfectly alright to be the world capital of kleptocracy, as long as Malaysia owns sufficient assets to repay what was stolen by its leaders?” Pua asked in a statement.

The DAP national publicity secretary also reminded Wee that he had never said the Sales and Services Tax (SST) would lower the price of goods, but that his full speech in Parliament was that “the impact of SST on the price of goods will be lower than the impact of GST”.

“Would Dr Wee like to argue that the price impact of GST is less than that of the SST?” said Pua.

He told Wee that 1MDB’s debt remained RM39 billion as of last December 31.

Pua also said that the government regularly issued bonds to finance the construction of infrastructure like schools, roads, and hospitals, after Barisan Nasional (BN) ran a budget deficit for the past 20 years.

Wee had asked why Pakatan Harapan (PH) continued to blame 1MDB for their failure to fulfil their 2018 election promises if government bonds exceeded 1MDB’s debt.

“So, the question is, what is Dr Wee trying to imply here? He should perhaps stop beating about the bush and come straight to his point — that is losing RM30 billion to theft, in his opinion is immaterial and insignificant, and doesn’t affect government finances, since the government regularly issues bonds to finance its deficit anyway?” said Pua.

Wee also questioned Pua if PH had inflated the price of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project to RM44 billion, since the DAP leader previously said that the true cost of the project was only RM29 billion.

“Dr Wee has the cheek to even raise this question. BN signed the contract for RM66 billion,” Pua responded.

“With our hands tied behind our back in our negotiations with China, after the BN government has already paid the Chinese companies nearly RM20 billion, we had successfully reduced the cost by a-third to RM44 billion. This is an achievement no other country in the world has done with China.”

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