KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Umno veteran Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah today said that if he were finance minister, he would not define the country’s real debt.
The Gua Musang division chief and potential candidate for the party presidency said that Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng lumped Malaysia’s debts together, making it appear that the government’s debt is over RM1 trillion.
“I think it depends on how you do it, but it is not necessary to do it as such (revealing the total debt),” he said in an interview with Astro Awani.
Tengku Razaleigh said he construed Lim’s statement to bring to light the financial scandals of the previous administration.
“His statement on the country’s finances has made people sell their shares due to a lack of confidence in our nation’s economy. As a result, various bodies including the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) have incurred losses, which is borne by the people. I think this is ultimately propaganda that does not benefit anyone,” he said.
Tengku Razaleigh was referring to the fund’s investment value that reportedly has dropped by as much as RM6.09 billion in the month following the 14th general election.
When asked if it was a good idea for the government of the day to come clean on past financial scandals and the national debt, he said it should be frank on the steps that need to be taken.
“For example, if the International Monetary Fund (IMF) proposes steps to take in order to measure our debt, it should be done as such. It cannot be done according to our own whims and fancies,” Tengku Razaleigh said.