Daim assures no increase in govt debt after GST removal

Daim Zainuddin says it’s normal for investors to feel jittery during the political transition.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former finance minister Daim Zainuddin, who is now part of the five-member Team of Eminent Persons under the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, has assured investors and fund managers that all problems affecting the economy will be addressed and that there will not be an increase in debts.

“There is no reason to put the economy into a state that is much worse,” he told Bernama after chairing a meeting late last night with other members of the team.

He was responding to a question on jitters by investors over the impact on the ringgit and stock market following the surprise win by PH in the recent polls, which saw the fall of Barisan Nasional’s six-decade rule.

Daim said investors were more concerned on the proposed removal of the goods and services tax (GST) which they said would likely impact government revenue and in turn widen the fiscal deficit.

“We are not going to increase the debt anymore. We are not stupid. This is a lot of speculation, unnecessary fear. This is a normal reaction when a new government takes over,” he said.

Daim assured investors that the team has experts who could handle this issue.

“For 57 years there was no GST and there was no problem,” he pointed out.

The important thing is to get rid of corruption, he added.

Present at the meeting were three other members of the team, namely former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas president Hassan Marican and economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram. Billionaire tycoon Robert Kuok, who is also part of the council, was not present.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had yesterday announced the setting up of the team which, among others, will assist the new government in implementing promises in PH’s manifesto.