KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — Damansara MP Tony Pua today took Datuk Seri Najib Razak to task, after the latter ridiculed Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s recent announcement, that there is greater foreign direct investment (FDI) into Malaysia in the first quarter of the year, amounting to RM21.7 billion.
In a statement today, Pua who is also political secretary to Lim, advised Najib to not be a “sore loser”, and accept the reality that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government is doing a better job in managing the country’s finances, especially in attracting FDIs.
“The amount of FDIs which was approved in 2018 recorded its best performance, and will enable the realised FDI to increase this year and next.
“Therefore, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng can state that the realised FDI for the first quarter of 2019, is a historically high number for a quarter term, whereby it increased by 94.8 per cent to RM21.7 billion, compared to RM11.2 billion for the same quarter last year.
“Now, Najib is beating around the bush and questioning that the FDI numbers does not reflect the real FDI. I want to ask Najib. Why is it that in December last year, the statistics published by the National Statistics Department can be referenced to as being an accurate investment figure, but when the current Finance Minister cites the same statistics, it is not now not considered as an FDI?” Pua asked.
Lim had in his announcement, said that the majority of the record FDI in the quarter was contributed by investments from Japan (RM8.4 billion), Austria (RM3.7 billion) and Hong Kong (RM2.8 billion).
Najib then took to his Facebook page two days ago, saying that he had checked the Central Bank (BNM) report on the FDI achievement, adding that the RM8.4 billion from Japan was in fact proceeds from the sale of shares in IHH Healthcare Berhad, owned by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, to Mitsui & Co Limited.
He added that the RM3.7 billion from Austria was from the sale of a 50 per cent stake in Sapura Upstream Sdn Bhd, which is 40 per cent owned by Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), to a company called OMV.
He said both the sales were announced in the fourth quarter of 2018, but the payments only came in this year, lamenting that the country’s assets are being blatantly sold off.
However, Pua rubbished Najib’s assertion, saying that the buying of the said shares were indeed beneficial foreign investments, as it was listed on the Malaysian stock exchange.
“Goodness...don’t tell me a former finance minister cannot understand that the buying of the IHH shares which were listed on Bursa Malaysia is a huge and important investment?
“Clearly, Najib’s stand and explanations are twisted proves that he is not only dishonest, but also has bad intentions to continue cheating the people.
“The FDI which entered in the first quarter of 2019 is a high quality investment which was accepted to stimulate skills and local technology via sharing of expertise in various high value fields. This increased FDI is important to ensure that Malaysia exits the middle-income trap, a goal which Najib failed to achieve during his decade-long reign,” Pua added.