PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia would incur RM300 billion more debt if Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Barisan Nasional (BN) had won the general election, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
Thanking Malaysians for voting to deliver a shocking blow to the coalition that had ruled for six decades, the prime minister said BN would need to borrow more on top of the RM1 trillion liabilities already revealed just to deliver some of its manifesto pledges.
“You’ve done a great job of getting rid of Najib, and had he won we would incur another RM300 billion of debt,” Dr Mahathir said in an exclusive interview with Malay Mail at the Perdana Leadership Foundation here.
The Pakatan Harapan chairman said Najib had promised between RM60 to 80 billion in allocations to each state if BN won Putrajaya in the May 9 general election.
“Where is he going to get the money? Any thinking man would know he has to borrow, and if he’s borrowing, he’s going to add to the debt,” he said.
It is unclear how Dr Mahathir arrived at the figure as he did not elaborate. An allocation of at least RM60 billion for 14 states would be RM840 billion, while RM300 billion would give each state just over RM20 billion on average.
Malay Mail could not find the specific promises Dr Mahathir mentioned in BN’s election manifesto, and has requested clarification with the coalition.
Last month, newly-minted Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng revealed that Putrajaya debt and liabilities are at RM1.087 trillion, or 80.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Broken down, this included the federal government debt of RM686.8 billion, government guarantees (RM199.1 billion), and lease payments for public-private projects (RM201.4 billion).
Putrajaya has since launched the crowd-funded Tabung Harapan Malaysia in a symbolic bid to cut down the debt, which has collected RM89,127,407.24 as at 3pm yesterday.
In response, Najib had then accused Lim of being “reckless” in discussing Malaysia’s financial state, claiming the latter was using “guesstimation” to arrive at key figures that could move markets.
Dr Mahathir has previously claimed that many of the figures recording the country’s financial position may be false.
He told Malay Mail today that the debts are already over 80 per cent of the country’s GDP, denying again Najib’s claim otherwise.
“People don’t calculate, you see? He said we’re within our borrowing limit, but it’s not. It goes beyond that limit,” he added.