KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — To Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, it is better to speak the truth and uphold the integrity of the administration rather than keeping to oneself the state of the country’s finances.
Clearing up the perception of him of being too aggressive despite being an effective minister, he said he was angry over the malpractices of the previous government when he took office in May 2018.
“I tell you why they feel I am aggressive and too truthful. It is because when I first became the finance minister, I was so angry during my first press conference. When I looked at the figures, they were worse than I had expected. We are really paying for 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) loans.
“And look at the bulk of tenders, 88 per cent of the project value (of projects) or RM8.3 billion had been paid but on the ground only 10 per cent (were completed). How can it be? If you’re not angry, you’re not human.
“So, when I am angry at this type of malpractice. I want to speak the truth, and if that is wrong, what can I say, but I will still tell the truth, I will still say it as it is,” he said in a selected media interview at his office recently ahead of the first anniversary of Pakatan Harapan government after the 14th general election on May 9 last year.
Asked whether his aggressiveness has dented investor sentiment, Lim conceded that it might have somehow sent shockwaves across the market at the outset of the new administration as many governance issues were unearthed.
“I think maybe they are not used to it and may have (felt) the effect, but eventually, in the long run, investors want a government they can trust.
“So, when we went to the international rating agency, although the deficit has to be raised to 3.7 per cent to Gross Domestic Product due to the 1MDB and other scandals, but our ratings still remained unchanged,” he said.
Having noted some quarters questioning why the country’s credit ratings were maintained, Lim asserted that the government would continue to be transparent and committed to its institutional reforms.
He assured the people that the government would gradually strengthen the country’s fiscal and financial conditions.
“After three years, the people will see a more sustainable, stronger and more transparent country and the most important thing much more cleaner,” he added. — Bernama