23 May, 2018

Political narrative or facts?


1. 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.

2. 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 saying 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 such as our Bank Negara Malaysia.

3. There must be a clear distinction between political narrative and facts. Mixing them will create doubts on the credibility of our numbers and the professionalism of the institutions that were involved in preparing them, governed by Malaysians laws and international standards.

4. As a result of these alarming and confusing statements, our Bursa Malaysia index fell the most among all worldwide stock markets resulting in tens of billions of ringgit in market value wiped out in one day. Our Bursa index fell 40.78 points today or 2.21% while the Indonesian stock index added 0.71%.

5. The business news-portal The EdgeMarkets said this sharp fall in our share market was contributed by concern on our public debt.

Surely this fall would affect our funds such as EPF and PNB and could lower the dividend rates for its members for the year.

6. Similarly, issuing statements that we should not worry about our country’s sovereign credit ratings being downgraded will result in further rocking the confidence in our institutions.

7. A downgrade will result in higher debt financing costs of RM10 billion per year to our country and may result in our banks who had borrowed from the international markets to sustain losses. It may also result in large capital outflows from foreign investors and cause our Ringgit to weaken.

8. While you may want to slander and put all the blame on me to give a perception of a dire financial position to justify why you cannot deliver on your manifesto promises and to massively cut the civil service, you must remember that the country and our people comes first.

9. 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.

10. 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.