MALAYSIA would be RM1.1 trillion in debt if Pakatan Harapan took over the federal government, Prime Minister Najib Razak told university students today.
He said the opposition pact’s election manifesto, which promised to abolish the goods and services tax (GST) and existing tolls, would plunge the nation into a further RM416 billion debt on top of the existing RM685 billion debt.
“If that is all taken into account, the national debt will increase and inflate to RM416 billion, with the existing debt, it becomes RM1 trillion. The opposition wants to claim that we are increasing the national debt, but their manifesto is even more drastic.
“This will be the debts that we have inherited and you guys are the ones who are going to be paying back after this,” Najib said at Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) which was broadcast on Facebook.
The prime minister is on a one-day working trip to the northern state where he will launch an Urban Transformation Centre (UTC).
Najib was commenting on a statement by Ministry of Finance secretary-general, Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, who said Malaysia would lose RM416.6 billion in revenue if the GST, National Higher Education Fund Corp (PTPTN) loans, tolls and excise duties were abolished.
Barisan Nasional leaders have been criticising the PH election manifesto since its launch last week.
Najib, who is also the finance minister, said the opposition would not be able to conduct national development programmes with reduced government revenue.
“You will inherit the debts. This is why we cannot lie to the people. We (the government) will straight way tell that if we can do it, we will do it. But if we cannot, we say we cannot.”
Without naming former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who now heads the opposition, Najib blamed him for creating the many tolled highways of which PH now wanted to get rid.
“I am not in favour of tolls, but there is an old man who built them. Under Budget 2018, I abolished four tolls. But, we cannot do it all at once. We cannot afford it,”
The PH manifesto outlines 10 promises that the opposition bloc wants to achieve in the first 100 days of taking over Putrajaya.
Among the promises are reduction in tolls and delay repayment on PTPTN loans until graduates start earning monthly salaries of RM4,000.