Najib is blaming Lim Guan Eng for Malaysia’s weak finances

While Najib’s criticisms of SST include the loss of tax dollars meant to help civil servants and poorer Malaysians, the country’s finance minister said that the implementation of SST would help reduce the impact of import surpluses.
Reuters

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak is blaming Lim Guan Eng for Malaysia’s balance sheet woes.

In a Facebook post titled “The Government Lost Tens of Billions of Dollars Because of Lim Guan Eng”, Najib criticised the current finance minister for politicising the management of Malaysia’s economy, and allowing the switch to SST.

Najib, who is also a former finance minster, said the move away from GST cost Malaysia billions of dollars in revenue that could have been used to raise the salaries of civil servants and poorer citizens. Najib had earlier promised an increment for civil servants in April, claiming Malaysia could afford it.

His comments are directed at the government’s positioning of the upcoming November budget as a “sacrificial” one, requiring cutbacks in order to avoid bankrupting the country.

Lim himself has said that while Malaysia is not on “austerity mode”, it is looking into “smarter spending”.

The country has already cancelled a large number of projects signed under Najib’s term following the 1MDB scandal, including two multi-billion dollar deals with China – and postponed a high-speed rail project with Singapore.

He added that the country’s “weak” second-quarter current account surplus was caused by a tax holiday after the country abolished GST, but the implementation of SST would help moderate import growth and improve Malaysia’s trade balances, according to the Edge.

He said that the country is also relying on private sector growth to achieve a high-income economy.