New Straits Times

Umno: PH govt’s statements worrying


KUALA LUMPUR: Umno is concerned about the statements made by the Pakatan Harapan government last week on the country’s credit rating, national debt, Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) cancellati­on and gross domestic product (GDP).

The party’s strategic communicat­ions unit said people should be worried about the comments made by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Council of Eminent Persons chairman Tun Daim Zainuddin.

The unit said a downgrade in the country’s credit rating could cause foreign investors to pull out of the local market.

“This will lead to an increase in interest rates and national debt repayment cost by RM10 billion a year,” it said.

On May 17, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia did not need to worry about a potential downgrade to its credit rating due to the scrapping of the Goods and Services Tax because the country was set to benefit from higher oil prices and lower government expenditur­e.

On Lim’s claim on May 22 that the national debt was more than RM1 trillion, the unit said it was a politicall­y-motivated statement and simply not true.

“The debt total was tabulated with contingent liabilitie­s and lease payments for public-private partnershi­ps, which does not comply with internatio­nal standards and is inaccurate.

“Such a statement will only frighten the financial markets. It led to sharp falls in the stock market for several days and affected the value of the ringgit.

“O n D r M ahathir’s statement that the HSR project cancellati­on was final, the people should be worried as the project was the reason that internatio­nal agencies had projected growth in the country’s GDP.

“The projected GDP will be lower, turning investors away.

“As for the statement that Singaporea­ns must be tired of the People’s Action Party government, we feel that such a confrontat­ional statement will have a negative impact on Malaysians working in the country.”

On May 29, Daim said the PH government was more concerned about the people’s welfare than the country experienci­ng fantastic GDP growth.

He said there was no point in achieving 10 per cent growth if the people were suffering, and that low income earners were clamouring for lower prices.

The unit said the government seemed ready to sacrifice economic growth for the sake of a lower cost of living.

“GDP growth will lead to the creation of more job opportunit­ies and raise incomes.

“Do we really want to have lower salaries in return for a lower cost of living? Was this not the problem that the country faced when Dr Mahathir retired as prime minister in 2003?

“We should not be Pak Turut (yes men).

“Our priority must always be purchasing power, job opportunit­ies, investment, economy and the future, no matter the government of the day.”

Our priority must always be purchasing power, job opportunit­ies, investment, economy and the future, no matter the government of the day.

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