‘Malaysia will go bankrupt if govt slashes oil prices’

TUARAN (Bernama) – Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said yesterday that the country will become bankrupt if the government reduces oil prices, which were skyrocketing in the world market.

"Throughout the world oil prices are rising, it's not possible for the opposition to bring fuel prices down. It simply does not make sense… they (opposition) are just trying to make fools of the people of Sabah.

"Sabah people if they want they can reject the present Barisan Nasional (BN) government. We have lost here (Sabah) before but won back (in the general election) because the people had faith in the BN," he said when opening the Tamu Besar Cultural Festival here yesterday.

As such, Najib urged Sabahans not to be influenced by empty promises made by the opposition that if they were voted in to form the new government after the upcoming general election, they would reduce fuel prices.

In November, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim attended several political ceramahs (talks) in Sabah and had pledged to reduce fuel prices if the party was returned in the election. Najib said the opposition was merely using the tactic (promising to reduce fuel prices) as a ploy to gain the support of the people.

"Don't come here (Sabah) and try and fool the people. We can use Petronas' profits to reduce fuel prices, but on the condition we (government) have to forego development projects like building schools or universities.

"If all expenditure is going to be for reducing fuel prices, the country will become bankrupt," he said, adding that fuel prices in Malaysia were the lowest in the region.

"We also know that if we don't find new oil reserves by 2011, our oil imports will exceed exports. We are not like Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, our oil production is only around 700,000 barrels annually," he said.

Najib said opposition leaders should convey the truth to the people and not make empty promises. He said the issue of oil prices needed to be managed wisely to ensure the BN government could carry out various development projects that had already been planned.

"With the oil revenue we have, we can build universities, hotels and carry out other development projects, all of which make Malaysia a progressive nation," he said.