PKR’s Rafizi Ramli speaks to reporters in Kuala Lumpur on November 11, 2013. — Picture by Choo Choy MayKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 24 — The Ministry of Finance today rubbished the allegation that national assets have been secretly liquidated to help Putrajaya achieve its announced deficit reduction targets, saying such activity was common and openly conducted by governments to drive the economy.
It also pointed out that portions of the World Bank report that PKR MP Rafizi Ramli used as the basis of his allegation last week, were based on data that was submitted to Parliament on the day Budget 2014 was tabled.
“The statement made by Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli is irresponsible because it purposefully milked the report for political mileage,” said the ministry’s statement today.
Rafizi last week cited portions of the World Bank’s “Malaysia Economic Monitor: December 2013” report that included the phrase: “Of the additional RM11.8 billion in revenues expected to be raised...RM7.4 billion originated from non-tax sources, including RM1.4 billion of proceeds from asset sale and RM4.2 billion from the securitization of government mortgages”.
The MP had then voiced suspicion that clandestine disposal of the country’s assets were ongoing given what he called the government’s failure to cut the deficit to 4 per cent target of the economy this year.
“This means national assets have already been sold and mortgaged so that it would gain returns in 2013 to close the national income and spending gap,” he said on Friday.
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders subsequently called for an emergency parliamentary session to discuss the “shocking” liquidation of national assets.
Today, the ministry noted that such a session was unnecessary given that the information the opposition pact was requesting had already been introduced to Parliament on October 25.
After years of chronic deficit, Putrajaya intends to reduce its overspending to 3.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) next year, before cutting this further to 3 per cent in 2015.
It has recently embarked the route aggressively in recent months by slashing subsidies and rate hikes that are expected to Malaysians hard in 2014.