PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has hit back at criticisms over his statement that income inequality had widened under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.
Najib, who raised the issue during his recent debate with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, cited data from the statistics department to show the increase in the Gini coefficient during PH’s time in government.
“I don’t do false claims or fake news,” he said on Facebook.
Najib was responding to allegations that he made false claims on the matter as World Bank statistics only provided data up until 2015.
He, however, said the statistics department provided data up until 2019.
“As you can see, Malaysia’s Gini coefficient experienced its sharpest drop in history during my time as prime minister, dropping from 44.1 to 39.9,” he said.
He said that during his administration, B40 and M40 household income experienced higher yearly growth compared to T20 due to the policies introduced at the time and the expansion of various programmes for jobs and small businesses.
The introduction of the goods and services tax (GST), Najib said, further contributed to the positive growth of B40 and M40 household income as wealthier people faced increased taxes the more they spent on non-exempted items.
“Income equality improved at its fastest pace during this time, lifting millions of Malaysians out of hardcore poverty,” he said.
“But it went up again in 2019 when many of these policies were reversed by the PH government.”