SERI KEMBANGAN: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has expressed disappointment in former premier Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's continued assertions that the country's debts are not above the RM1 trillion level.
While the government never denied the nation's direct debt is at RM687 billion, Lim stressed that the government guaranteed debts such as the insolvent 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) for instance should be taken as direct debts as the government has to fork out payments to service its unpaid loans.
“He (Najib) should call a spade, a spade.
“Why call it otherwise? Why do you (Najib) continue to hide behind a definition?
“You (Najib) are not only deceiving the people but deceiving yourself,” he told reporters after attending a “buka puasa” charity function organised by Country Heights Holdings Berhad at the Palace of the Golden Horses, here, today.
Lim said the government decided to classify those congenital liabilities and government guarantees as direct debts because of the involved parties inability to service the debts which had to be borne by the government.
He also reaffirmed the government's commitment towards the capital markets in addressing the over RM1 trillion debt despite the recent move to abolish the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the reintroduction of fuel subsidies.
“We will take some necessary fiscal measures which will make it difficult for us.
“However by adapting a disciplined fiscal measure, we will be able to maintain our budget deficit level at 2.8% of the Gross Domestic Produce (GDP) levels,” he said.
He added that government will be achieve that by reviewing current development projects.
Lim's response came after Najib had called on the government to adhere to international standards, and keep politics out when it comes to financial reporting.
Najib has cited top international credit rating agency Moody's through its Investors Service as having independently assessed the PH government's claims of the RM1 trillion “debt” and debt-to-GDP ratio of 80.3%.
“They have found those claims to be untrue and have maintained our debt ratio to be at 50.8% as declared by the Barisan Nasional government previously.
“You can mislead the people but you cannot mislead the experts,” he said on his official Facebook page.