Stop lying about deficit, Najib told

(Harakah Daily) – Prime minister Najib Razak has been accused of lying over the decrease in national deficit, with PAS central committee member Dzulkefly Ahmad describing it as accounting trick using off-balance-sheet.

Earlier, Najib announced on Twitter that national deficit dropped from 5.6 percent in 2010 to 5.0 percent in 2011.

“That is not true. PAS and Pakatan Rakyat would like to remind Najib that Greece went bankrupt due to big expenditure using the off-budget or off-balance-sheet way,” said the Kuala Selangor member of parliament.

Dzulkefly said apart from what was allocated in the budget, the BN government spending was also derived in the form of contingent liabilities by underwriting government-linked-companies’ debt as the Federal government’s guarantee debt.

“All these are not included in the deficit calculation but it will become a public debt or Federal government debt if they fail to pay, and eventually will be bailed out by the Federal government,” he explained.

Dzulkefly said there was nothing ‘pleasant’ about Najib’s announcement, saying the actual deficit could be much bigger, pushing the fiscal deficit to higher percentage against the gross domestic product (GDP).

Earlier, Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua blasted the government for concealing RM96.9 billion in loans it guaranteed as public debt.

Together with the combined public debt of RM455.7 billion reported last year, the ‘hidden’ debt would result in Federal loans exceeding the 55 per cent of GDP allowed by law, to become 65.2 percent.

“Although it does not compel the government to report contingent liabilities as public debt, in substance it is the same thing and we have busted the limit,” he said.

Echoing Pua, Dzulkefly told Najib to give priority in managing expenditure and reducing the people’s burden, rather than “pulling the wool over the public eye” by claiming reduction in deficit.

“The BN government has been spending lavishly over the last 13 years, they don’t save, during bad times, they would spend under the pretext of pump-priming.

“So, Najib should stop cheating the people and immediately manage the national treasury taking into account the criticism by the Auditor General’s Report,” he stressed.