“If Pakatan Harapan claimed that the previous administration – which registered a healthy 50.8 Debt-to-GDP – was “going to the dogs,” the country was probably under the care of Rottweilers and Dalmations by the time Perikatan Nasional took over”
Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
چوبا چريتا سيكيت، ڬوان اڠ، باڬايمانا محي الدين بوليه بلنجا رم250 بيلياون؟
On the 5th of September 2018, nearly four months into power, the (then) newly minted Pakatan Harapan federal administration claimed it was untrue that the previous administration left RM42 billion for government use.
According to then Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng, there was only RM450 million available in the coffers as of the 30thof April 2018.
“Do you believe (the previous government) left RM42 billion to us (the government)? It can’t be true as there were only millions, not billions.
“That’s why we need to impose the Sales and Services Tax (SST). We (government) don’t have enough money,” he said.
We know this is a lie, and we know what a great liar Lim Guan Eng is and how he manipulates facts and figures to make mountains out of molehills.
Still, the DAP secretary-general said towards the end of the three-month tax holiday, imposed by government following the zeroing of GST rates, there had been requests for the government to delay the implementation of SST.
“But, I’m sorry. We need money to run the country. Otherwise, we will be facing an operating deficit,” he said.
In other words, Lim told Malaysians outright that the country had “no money to spend” and “must collect SST taxes to survive.”
To help fill the nation’s coffers and to plug the repayment of the Goods and Services Tax and income tax refunds (RM37 billion), in November 2019, Lim announced that the government expected to receive a dividend commitment from Petronas amounting to RM54 billion, inclusive of a one-off RM30 billion special dividend.
To top that, the government undertook to sell 12 strategic assets worth RM25.6 billion, including IHH Berhad (RM8.42 billion), Sapura Upstream (RM3.7 bililon), Acibadem Sigort (RM1.25 billion), Telco M1 (RM1.65 billion), TNB shares (RM1.05 bililon), Boustead Plantation (RM1.2 bililon), Axiata Digital (RM0.579 bililon), BDO Unibank (RM0.415 bililon), CIMB (RM0.364 billion), Royale Chulan Hotel (RM0.197 bililon) and the Hong Kong Consulate building, sold to a buyer from China (RM1.6 billion).
The biggest joke was Khazanah’s decision to sell 16% of its stake in IHH Healthcare to Japan’s Mitsui & Co for a meagre RM8.42 billion, leaving Khazanah only 26% equity interests in the company, a share cut worth RM13.13 billion today.
It was a joke, as not only was IHH’s 2017 year-end value US$11 billion, it clocked an annual revenue of RM11.1 billion and a pre-tax profit of RM2.3 billion, making its shares worth many times more what Khazanah negotiated with Mitsui.
But never mind that – we now know that the Ministry of Finance undertook some ridiculous and “are you kidding me with this sh*t” measures – which Lim conveniently said was Mahathir’s bidding – to fill the nation’s coffers.
But what do figures say?
Well, official Bank Negara figures show that in May 2018, the national debt was at RM686.8 billion – or USD175.65 billion, based on the exchange rate then – while the Debt-to-GDP was 50.8 per cent.
By the 31st of December the same year, Lim and gang managed to ‘push’ the debt figure right up to USD179.3 billion, blaming it on loss in revenue due to the “tax holiday.”
But the tax holiday lasted only three months – Pakatan, on the other hand, managed to raise the debt by a whopping 7.6 per cent within a year of coming into power despite all the asset selling and what have you.
Within said period, the GDP rose RM7.6 billion as the country added RM54.3 billion to its debt pile, bringing the new Debt-to-GDP ratio in 2018 to an exact 51.8 per cent, 1.1 per cent upstream of what the previous government left the treasury with.
By the 31st of December 2019, the national debt had soared to USD195 – 196 billion – depending on where you get your figures from and the exact manner in which calculations are done – proving that Lim’s only contribution was to make matters worse.
Based on these figures, and going by Lim’s tale that Pakatan Harapan did not have money to spend when it took over government due to the country’s ‘enormous’ debt, Pakatan had to have ‘robbed’ money somewhere or stylised its books to make ends meet.
Perhaps Lim auctioned off his underwear in the black market and got others in the Ministry of Finance and Khazanah to do the same to help generate money to run the country.
Yes, if Pakatan Harapan claimed that the previous administration – which registered a healthy 50.8 Debt-to-GDP – was “going to the dogs,” the country was probably under the care of Rottweilers and Dalmations by the time Perikatan Nasional took over.
So tell me, Lim, where did Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin get RM250 billion from?
Is he adding to the debt pile you left behind, ‘robbing’ money from here and there or performing ‘accounting acrobatics’ like you did?
Or is he also auctioning off his underwear in the black market and getting others in the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Health and Khazanah to do the same?