Monday, March 1, 2021

Govt still saddled with over RM14 billion debts inherited from Najib era

They include debts linked to 1MDB and Tabung Haji as well as several large-scale projects.

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Putrajaya remains saddled with some RM14.6 billion in various debts inherited from the Najib Razak administration, even as the former leader joins opposition MPs in criticising the government’s latest budget as insufficient to help the people weather the Covid-19 pandemic.

The debts include RM1.5 billion for SRC International, a former subsidiary of scandal-ridden 1MDB, as well as RM1.7 billion in interest on debts owed by 1MDB, according to a scrutiny of available financial records by MalaysiaNow.

Najib was convicted in July of seven charges of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering involving RM42 million belonging to SRC International.

The funds were part of two loans from Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) to SRC International worth a total of RM4 billion.

Former prime minister Najib Razak speaks to reporters at the Kuala Lumpur court complex after being found guilty of corruption on July 28, 2020. Photo: AFP

Other inherited debts include loans for the Mass Rapid Transit and Pan Borneo projects amounting to RM3.7 billion, and RM1.5 billion in interest on the Light Rail Transit project.

The government is also burdened with refinancing its debt-ridden special purpose vehicle Pembinaan PFI Sdn Bhd, which will take RM2.66 billion.

Felda’s purchase of stakes in Indonesian plantation giant Eagle High Plantations, meanwhile, leaves the government with debts of RM1.7 billion.

The government will also need to fork out for its restructuring of Tabung Haji and Felda.

It was reported that the finance ministry-owned Urusharta Jamaah would have to spend some RM20 billion to rehabilitate Tabung Haji, the government’s pilgrims’ fund.

Yesterday Najib, in debating the 2021 budget, echoed PKR president Anwar Ibrahim in demanding at least two amendments allowing a one-off withdrawal of RM10,000 from the EPF and a six-month extension of the loan moratorium.

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