Najib: Don’t slander, blame me for Pakatan’s failure to deliver pledges

Zurairi Ar
Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak reacts to questions by the media while leaving the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya May 22, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak has reminded Pakatan Harapan (PH) today to serve the country and the public first, instead of allegedly slandering and blaming him for Malaysia’s economic situation.

In a surprise statement on his Facebook page late last night, the former prime minister said PH should not make claims like it did when it was still in Opposition, since its remarks now carry “a very different weight” and may affect the country’s economy.

“While you may want to slander and put all the blame on me to give a perception of a dire financial position to justify why you cannot deliver on your manifesto promises and to massively cut the civil service, you must remember that the country and our people come first.

“You can also issue misleading statements on 1MDB or tell half the story about it to blame me but the time to play politics is over,” said Najib, referring to 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

He did not say to whom he was referring, but he had mentioned the posts of finance minister and prime minister, held by Lim Guan Eng and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, respectively.

Najib refuted Putrajaya’s claim that the government debt is now 65 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) or at RM1 trillion, suggesting such a remark would unsettle the financial markets, alarm the credit rating agencies and shake investors’ confidence.

He said the figure is closer to 50.9 per cent, although Dr Mahathir had previously said the figures are not accurate.

Najib said as a result of remarks made by PH leaders, the KL Composite Index had fallen the most among all stock markets of late, and would affect funds such as the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB).

“A downgrade will result in higher debt financing costs of RM10 billion per year to our country and may result in our banks who had borrowed from the international markets to sustain losses.

“It may also result in large capital outflows from foreign investors and cause our ringgit to weaken,” Najib said.

Earlier this week, Dr Mahathir blamed the previous government led by Najib, who now faces domestic graft investigations, for the RM1 trillion debt.

Yesterday, Putrajaya announced several austerity measures, such as a cut in ministers’ wages by 10 per cent and the shutting down of several government agencies.