KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today brushed off Najib Razak’s criticism of Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) handling of the economy including the loss of revenue from the goods and services tax (GST), accusing the former prime minister of trying to deflect attention from more pressing issues.
“If he doesn’t understand or pretends not to understand, or doesn’t want to admit that he is wrong, how am I meant to answer all the other questions?” Lim said, responding to a Facebook post by Najib with 17 questions for him.
Among the questions was whether the PH government had lost RM30 billion during the three-month tax holiday following the zero-rating of GST.
Najib also questioned a claim that the government coffers were only left with RM450 million at the end of April.
To this, Lim said: “My question was so easy. Why had the funds left to the PH government, that was originally RM11.86 billion at the end of 2017, been reduced to RM450 million when the PH government was elected?
“He couldn’t even answer that. And when asked, he tries to avoid it by telling me ‘Oh, you should know’,” said Lim.
He said Najib did not seem to understand the differences between “consolidated funds” and the “consolidated revenue account”.
He added that the government would need at least RM8 billion for pensions and salaries each month.
“How can someone who was finance minister for 10 years not know the difference?” he asked during a press conference on the sidelines of a property conference.
“So again, I urge Najib to stop beating around the bush… I only asked him one question, and he posed another 17 ridiculous questions.
“If I ask him again, he might ask me another 34.”