KUALA LUMPUR: Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin wants the government to stop citing the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal as the reason for the country’s economic woes.
“This narrative that the government does not have money and is forced to cut subsidies and allowances for the poor is because of 1MDB is not right,” he told the Dewan Rakyat today.
He conceded that 1MDB had its weaknesses but also pointed out that its RM38 billion debt was only a tiny portion of the more than RM1 trillion government debt and liability.
“The country’s economy is dwindling and the excuse that it is because of 1MDB can no longer be used,” he said.
The former Youth and Sports Minister said the people’s disappointment in the government for its failure to fulfil promises was clearly reflected in the results of the Cameron Highlands and Semenyih by-elections.
Khairy was debating the Supplementary Supply (2018) Bill 2019 that seeks an additional RM19.6 billion to supplement the government’s 2018 budget, which was tabled for the second reading, today.
He also claimed that the government guarantees given by the previous administration that the Finance Ministry said in May last year amounted to RM199.1 billion were necessary to implement people-centric development projects.
He said the financing for projects such as the Pan-Borneo Highway had to be done off-balance sheet. “Otherwise how do we find funders?” he asked.
“Other projects deemed as scandal, such as the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT), were also paid through committed government guarantees. They were off-balance sheet items and we raised bonds to finance them,” he explained.
“If we had to depend only on conventional financing, when will see the results?” he asked.