Selangor water crisis more critical than 1MDB, says Najib (Updated)

12 Mar 2018 / 19:26 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The water crisis in Selangor is more critical than the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) issue, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak told the Dewan Rakyat today.
Downplaying the 1MDB issue and its effects on Malaysia, he diverted a question by Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) on national debts and the capability of repayment to the water crisis in Selangor.
"I want to stress here that the water issue in Selangor is more critical ... why is Gombak hot under the collar when 'water' is mentioned? I wonder why?" Najib chided.
Azmin in a supplementary question had asked the government to explain why the interest on the nation's debts have increased over the years and whether the financial woes of 1MDB had any implication on the current financial situation.
Citing a foreign news report last month, he said the government had only spent 9% of the national income in 2009 to pay the interest on debts.
"Currently the total cost of interest on debts continues to increase and today your administration pays 12.5% from the national revenue only to pay the interest on debts. If we compare this to Singapore, the country only spends 6% of its national revenue to pay the interest on debts.
"My question is whether the 1MDB financial crisis has resulted in this increase, or is there a more responsible reason for the Putrajaya administration to spend 12.5% of the national revenue just to pay the interest on debts," Azmin questioned.
At this point, the dewan erupted in chaos when Barisan Nasional MPs stood up to defend Najib and slam the Opposition-led administration in Selangor.
"Tan Sri how can you allow this? The reply has diverted from the original question," Azmin said, urging Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia to control the situation.
However, Pandikar diffused the chaos describing it as an art of politics.
"This is the speciality of Parliament. When a question is asked with a different meaning as the basis, then the answers will also be based on a different basis. That is politics. Just as long as it does not violate the standing orders.
"The question was whether the position of 1MDB is critical and the answer was the water issue is more critical. So both are critical," he said.

"How can the water issue be more criticial than 1MDB which involves billions and the national debt which involves RM42 billion? The debts of 1MDB are much more severe to the country!" Azmin stressed.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister maintained that the national debt is well managed, adding that it wasn't about the size of the debt, but the capability to repay it.
"If you compare with Singapore, it has a higher national debt, but it also has the capability to repay its debts. So we have an unquestionable capability to repay debts because international rating bodies have rated Malaysia as A category," he said.

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