Malaysia is more financially troubled than what is being painted by the Umno-led federal government, according to former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The Bersatu president claimed to have received a current report from Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz indicating that Malaysia’s economic edge is dulling and would soon be overtaken by its Asean neighbours, Indonesia and Vietnam, Malaysiakini reported today.
“Yesterday [February 17], I asked Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz to deliver a report…I will leak [bocor] it in time [about] the position of our national finance.
“How long can we last? How long will our annual revenue be able to pay salaries and support our national development? Will we have enough money to support our huge pension payment?
“That is as much as I will say [for now]. The country’s situation is not as rosy as being let on. This is the biggest challenge at the national level,” Muhyiddin was quoted saying during the official launch of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) election machinery in Johor Lama last night, ahead of the state election next month.
In his speech, Muhyiddin reportedly condemned Umno for calling a fresh state election, saying there was no threat to its government in Johor with its one-seat majority.
The incumbent Gambir assemblyman has said he will not contest in the March 12 vote though the PN coalition comprising Bersatu, PAS and Gerakan have not fully announced their candidates.
Muhyiddin, who is chairman of the National Recovery Council (NRC), told the gathering last night that Johor’s economy was heavily reliant on Singapore and had suffered the past two years due to the international border closure brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He was also reported emphasising that the NRC had agreed to a full reopening of Malaysia’s borders on March 1, but highlighted that the government has yet to follow through with its recommendations.
“There are those who asked why do we want to reopen the border so soon when Covid-19 is still around.
“That’s true, I was even infected with Covid-19 last week. I just ended compulsory quarantine three days ago.
“But look at me, I’m fine. There weren’t many symptoms. I’m not saying it is not dangerous nor are doctors saying to ignore Covid-19. There are side effects.
“But the situation then and now is different,” he was quoted saying.
Malaysiakini reported that Muhyiddin told the gathering last night that fellow Bersatu council member, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, who is also the international trade and industry minister, to push the government to reopen the country’s borders so Johor’s economy can revive.
Azmin was also reported to be present on the stage last night. – MMO