KUALA LUMPUR: Former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has questioned the government’s ability to make good promises made in the 2017 Budget as issues related to 1MDB remain unresolved.
In stating so, the Pagoh lawmaker noted that the state investment arm was not mentioned in the recently tabled budget, specifically debts incurred by 1MDB, which he argued would exceed the prescribed limit of 55 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
Muhyiddin pointed out that in June 2016, government debts stood at RM655.7 billion, or 53.2 per cent of the GDP.
“If 1MDB’s debts, which currently stand at more than RM50 billion, which is largely guaranteed by the government, are taken into account, the government debts to GDP ratio would exceed the prescribed limit of 55 per cent,” he said when debating the 2017 Budget at the Dewan Rakyat.
Muhyiddin, who was sacked from the Cabinet for speaking out against 1MDB, stressed that the link between the recent budget and 1MDB could no longer be ignored.
“The question is whether the government has sufficient financial resources to pay off the debts.”
He then “congratulated” Najib – who is also the finance minister – for sugar-coating the budget, which he said was weak, but warned the prime minister not to underestimate the intelligence of the people.
“The public will not be fooled by the ‘economic opium’ meant to disillusion them.
“They (the rakyat) know the 1MDB scandal has very much affected their livelihood.
“Those who are in denial are the ministers and Umno cybertroopers who are paid to concoct lies and keep on telling lies.”
Muhyiddin also painted a grim picture of the economy, which included the country’s vulnerability to a currency speculation attack that can be caused by the rise of national and household debts.
“I am worried we would not be able to withstand a currency speculation attack. I say this as a warning.”