Why blame 1MDB for nation’s 2018 debt increase, asks Najib

Najib Razak says debts incurred by 1MDB have not increased since 2016.

PETALING JAYA: Najib Razak today hit out at the Pakatan Harapan administration for blaming the recent increase in the nation’s debt on the RM32.2 billion 1MDB owed in arrears.

Najib cited a Berita Harian report which quoted former international trade and industry minister Mustapa Mohamed as saying the sum owed by the scandal-plagued investment arm had increased the nation’s debt to RM741 billion in 2018, from RM686.8 billion in 2017.

But the former prime minister said that debts incurred by 1MDB had not increased since 2016.

“And now 1MDB’s debts can suddenly increase the nation’s debts in 2018? The fault lies with PH, yet they blame 1MDB,” he said in a Facebook post.

Najib said he would not be surprised if 1MDB is again blamed for the increase of the nation’s debt to RM804 billion recorded in June.

He said PH only focused on the debts incurred and ignored the investment arm’s contribution.

The former finance minister went on to point out that 1MDB had helped with the lop-sided contracts with Independent Power Producers (IPP), the construction of eight military bases and the Bandar Malaysia project.

It also played a role in the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), which Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had identified as among the country’s best assets, and helping taxi drivers and pilgrims through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes.

“They have been in power for 15 months, yet 1MDB remains as the main material for their propaganda,” Najib said.