Najib 'congratulates' govt after Moody's downgrade of Petronas' outlook


KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak today 'congratulated' the Pakatan Harapan government following rating agency, Moody's downgrade of Petronas’ outlook from stable to negative.

The former prime minister, in his latest Facebook post tonight, said this was the result of the government's "efficiency" in handling the nation's finances as announced in the recent 2019 Budget.

This included asking the petroleum company to pay higher dividends to offset revenue shortfall, he said.

"Congratulations PH government, today Moody's has downgraded Petronas' outlook from stable to negative.

"This is the results of efficient management of the country's finances and the smart moves made in 2019 Budget." he wrote.

Najib, in the post, also warned that Malaysia’s credit rating could be affected following Moody’s decision.

"This is happening when the oil prices are somewhat high and stable now.

"But what happens when the prices drop?"

He asked if the government was prepared to face another oil crisis.

"What buffer do we have if the crisis happened again?" said Najib.

He pointed out that the previous Barisan Nasional government had worked hard to ensure low dependency on oil revenue, in line with the direction taken by the world's economy.

"But the PH government seems to want to move backward." he added.

It was reported today that Moody's Investors Service affirmed Petronas' A1 domestic issuer and foreign currency senior unsecured ratings, but changed the outlook from stable to negative.

It also affirmed the A1 rating for Petronas Capital Ltd's senior unsecured notes and the US$15bil medium-term note (MTN) programme as well as sukuk issued through Petronas Global Sukuk Ltd, but changed its outlook to negative from stable.

Moody's said the rating action was due to the government's announcement that Petronas would be paying RM26bil in dividends in 2018 and RM54bil (inclusive of a one-off special dividend of RM30bil) in 2019. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd