KUALA LUMPUR: Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin today said the government cannot continue to use 1MDB’s debts as an excuse for the country’s declining economy anymore.
“No money because of 1MDB. This is the narrative used because Pakatan Harapan cannot fulfil its promises,” he said.
He said although the government had cut allowances and scholarship allocations on the excuse that it did not have money, it was working on a third national car project even though this was a “sunset industry”. He said when other countries were looking into artificial intelligence and the internet of things, Malaysia was looking at car manufacturing.
The government was also able to find money during the Semenyih by-election by giving RM100 in Bantuan Sara Hidup to B40 single adults, he said.
“What is the economic strategy under PH?” he asked.
He said the 1MDB debts stood at RM38 billion or less than 4% of the total debts and liabilities of the federal government and that this should not be used as an excuse.
“I agree there are a lot of weaknesses in 1MDB and I hope these can be settled. But to say we have no money and we have to cut all subsidies and allowances because of 1MDB, that is not true.
“It is a government that cannot manage the country and because of that, we won in the Cameron Highlands and Semenyih by-elections. Coming Rantau by-election, they (PH) will lose,” he said when debating the 2018 Supplementary Budget at the Dewan Rakyat.
Khairy said the country’s economy remained the main challenge because of a deficit budget standing at 3.9%. Under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, he said, the target was 2.4%.
The former youth and sports minister said the deficit had become higher after the government scrapped the goods and services tax (GST), adding the country’s debt had risen since PH took power.
“The picture given was that the abolishment of GST will reduce prices of goods. But that didn’t happen,” he said, adding that instead, the allowances for fishermen and certain subsidies had been cut.
Khairy assured that the BN government did not hide any data relating to debts from the people.
“The money was not hidden. Previously we did not list it as debts,” he explained, adding that the BN then was using accrual accounting.
“Now you (PH) see it as a liability. The accrual system was brought in by BN. Why would we want to hide facts when BN was the one who brought in accrual accounting?” he asked.