PETALING JAYA: Najib Razak today hit out at Lim Guan Eng for dismissing a possible economic downturn from the Covid-19 outbreak, days after Putrajaya said it expected the nation’s gross domestic product to drop by between 0.8% and 1.2%.
Lim, the former finance minister, was last month reported to have downplayed an economic downturn sparked by the outbreak, saying the government’s economic stimulus package would help boost economic growth.
He was also reported to have said the nation had faced similar challenges during the SARS outbreak.
Najib said he had slammed Lim’s remarks then, arguing that the impact left by Covid-19 was different from that of SARS because of the current global economy.
“I said then that he was underestimating the impact the outbreak had on the economy,” the former prime minister and finance minister said in a Facebook post.
On Friday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the expected drop in GDP of 0.8% to 1.2% for 2020 represented a decline of between RM10.8 billion and RM17.3 billion.
This translates to a GDP growth of 3.6% to 4.0%, instead of the earlier forecast of 4.8%.
Najib went on to say that the price of crude oil had dropped, and palm oil was being sold at RM2,300 a tonne, while international flights to KLIA had declined by 25%.
“So how is it that the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak is not huge and Malaysia is free of any risk of an economic downturn as he (Lim) had guaranteed? The impact is massive.
“It’s only a former finance minister who does not see this,” he said, adding that Lim “doesn’t know anything”.