Government's statements on finances hurting the country: Najib

PETALING JAYA: Embattled former premier Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak hit out at the Pakatan Harapan government for its statements relating to the country's finances, claiming that it has led the stock market to fall.

In a statement late Wednesday night, he warned that further confusing and misleading statements would only spook the financial markets and result in actual losses to the country.

"Words said and allegations made while in the opposition carries a very different weight now that you are in power and holding the positions of the Finance Minister or the Prime Minister.

"Coming out to say that our country's government debt to GDP is now 65%, which is a big jump from the official 50.9% figure, and that our debt is now RM1 trillion without giving any details of what you mean will just unsettle the financial markets, alarm the credit rating agencies and investors confidence in our institutions.

"As a result of these alarming and confusing statements, Bursa Malaysia index fell 40.78 points today or 2.21%, resulting in tens of billions of ringgit in market value wiped out in one day," he said.

In contrast, the Indonesian Stock Exchange gained 0.71%, he pointed.

"Surely this fall would affect our funds such as Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) and could lower the dividend rates for its members for the year," he added.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had previously claimed the country's actual debt level left behind by the previous government amounted to RM1 trillion, contradicting Najib's previous figure at RM685 billion.

Najib, who was also former Finance Minister, added that issuing statements that the country should not worry about its sovereign credit rating being downgraded would only rock the financial institutions' confidence.

"A downgrade will result in higher debt financing cost of RM10 billion per year and may result in our banks, which had borrowed from international markets, to sustain losses," he said.

Najib also reminded the government not to slander and blame him by giving a perception of a dire financial position merely to justify its inability to deliver on its manifesto and shrink the civil service, at the expense of the country and the people's welfare.

"You can also issue misleading statements on 1MDB or tell half the story about it to blame me, but the time to play politics is over.

"Words spoken while in such positions of power result in actual losses to the country and the people, as was proven today in the stock market. It is no longer just about votes anymore," he said.