Stop ‘economic sabotage’ for country’s sake, PM tells critics

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman speaks with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during a Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony in Putrajaya February 27, 2017. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak today pleaded with his critics against “sabotaging” the country’s economy, citing the adverse impact it would have on the nation.

The prime minister also advised his detractors to keep the country’s best interests at heart, despite different political leanings.

“There are some sentiments which can influence, via ambitions aimed at demonising our economy by making baseless accusations or incorrect ones.

“So it is not fair to continue this. Though we have different political importance, but the national interest cannot be pawned for party politics because national interest must be above all,” Najib said in a parliamentary reply in Dewan Rakyat here.

He was responding to Barisan Nasional’s Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Irmohizam Ibrahim, who had asked how Putrajaya plans to react against what he called economic saboteurs.

“So I plead. Let there be no such elements. Like I said recently, we almost lost a deal from Aramco worth RM31 billion because of utterly wrong facts because of certain parties,” he said.

Last month, Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Saudi Aramco purchased a 50 per cent equity in the Petronas’ Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project for RM31 billion. 

The investment was said to be Saudi Aramco’s biggest downstream investment outside the kingdom.

"Thank god we managed to convince them that the Malaysian economy is very well handled and we received high ratings from the ratings agencies.

"For example, we are in category 'A-', there are only few countries in the 'A' category, but what was being spread by certain parties was otherwise," Najib added.

He also assured that Putrajaya, in its bid to address the ringgit's declining value, would always ensure that the foreign exchange market is not affected so that economic activities can stay vibrant.

He added that Bank Negara Malaysia's (BNM) US$95 billion reserves would also cushion the excessive fluctuations in the financial market.