KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak today insisted that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government had never sold any strategic government assets under Khazanah Nasional Berhad.
His comments followed Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali’s revelation that BN had sold 84 Khazanah Nasional assets. Najib said these 84 were not strategic assets.
Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby, he said: “Azmin said 84 of Khazanah’s assets were sold in nine years and four months, but he never said their value; he just said 84 assets.”
Najib argued that the assets sold amounted to RM45.3 billion, or an average of RM5 billion a year, throughout the entire nine-year period.
He compared this to the 12 assets sold by PH within one year, worth RM25.6 billion.
“This means that in only one year, they have sold five times more (the asset value) compared to every year under BN rule,” he said.
Najib also said, during BN’s rule, the net asset value of Khazanah increased 3.5 times, from RM33 billion to RM116 billion.
“However, during PH’s rule, Khazanah’s net asset value fell by RM25 billion — from RM116 billion to RM91 billion,” he said.
He also denied that the sale of government assets was due to BN’s past transgressions.
Najib said that the move to sell the strategic assets was due to mistakes made by PH, such as setting a budget based on an unrealistic oil price (at US$70 per barrel) and the abolition of the goods and services tax (GST).
“All of this have put pressure on government revenue and forced them to sell off the assets. This was not because of the BN government.
“If BN was still in power, I guarantee that we would not have chosen to sell strategic assets like the Duo Residence in Singapore, Andaz Hotel, IHH, Tenaga and all kinds of stakes that the government has sold off.”
Najib added that Khazanah never lost any money under BN. “We never lost money but, for the first time, Khazanah lost over RM6 billion, that is something that they (PH) cannot deny.”
Azmin today defended Putrajaya’s move to sell Khazanah’s assets, arguing that the same thing was done during the BN administration.