PUTRAJAYA: Finance minister Lim Guan Eng has explained that he made the disclosures on financial scandals such as those linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) as he was directed to do so by the prime minister.
“I am not the prime minister and have no power to instruct other ministers to expose financial scandals that come under my ministry’s purview,” he said in response to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim’s comment.
Anwar remarked during an interview with Astro Awani that Lim should focus on boosting investors’ confidence while leaving it to other ministries and government agencies to expose wrongdoings.
The Democratic Action Party (DAP) Secretary-General said in a statement that he appreciated Anwar’s input and the people’s views and feedback on how to rescue the economy.
According to him, Anwar understands these scandals were disclosed to the media on the prime minister’s orders and also concurs that the people do not want the government to hide the country’s real economic situation and financial status from them.
Thus, he said, his ministry would continue to expose all financial scandals within the new government’s first 100 days in office, as instructed by the prime minister.
“We must have the courage to stand up for truth,” he added.
Anwar had advised Lim to strike a balance between exposing scandals and instilling confidence among investors.
Anwar said that Lim should exercise caution when issuing statements as they could be used as reference points by investors.
Lim, who has met Anwar several times to explain about the economic situation and how the scandals had put a financial strain on the country, said the federal government’s fiscal position had been adversely impacted due to the debts of more than RM1 trillion (US$251 billion), as disclosed by the prime minister, following the 1MDB scandal and extravagant spending by the previous government.
Lim said the finance ministry had outlined alternative plans to manage the RM1 trillion debt via project postponements and savings in financial expenditure.
“These steps to spend prudently are being taken without worsening the budget deficit, which will remain at 2.8 per cent of the gross domestic product,” he added.
He also noted that he had met various investors and fund managers both locally and overseas to explain the country’s financial policy.