PM's claim that PH will plunge nation into RM1.1t debt is ridiculous: Tony Pua

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's calculation that Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration will plunge the nation into a RM1.1 trillion debt is ridiculous.

Stating this, DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua said unlike Barisan Nasional, PH through its election manifesto has taken a different approach to ensure that its initiative, such as abolishing toll collections, would not place a burden on the rakyat.

He added the concession agreements with highway operators had not indicated that the government has to pay compensation if it decided to abolish tolls.

"The numbers produced by Najib are ridiculous, does not make sense and does not add up.

"We ask that he break it down and explain how he arrived at that figure," he told a press conference at Parliament today.

Najib on Tuesday warned that the pledges made by PH in its manifesto would incur a further RM416 billion debt to the existing RM685 billion.

PH in its manifesto, among others, had promised to abolish the collection of Goods and Services Tax as well as toll collections if it comes to power.

PH chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had earlier said there was no basis for Najib to claim that the national debt would increase under opposition rule.

Pua, who is also the Petaling Jaya Utara MP, said the problem of increasing debt if tolls were abolished would only occur under BN rule as the current administration would have to pay for future profits of highway concessionaires.

"This is what happened to tolls that had been abolished by BN such as those in Sungai Rasau and Batu Tiga. The BN government needed to pay for the profits in the future," he said.

Instead, the PH government would abide by the existing agreement without having to pay any additional compensation or profit to concessionaires, Pua added.

"The concession agreement says that we pay until today, (thus) we pay until today," he said.