Rafizi: Better to spend billions on rakyat than bail out Sapura

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PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli says that money used to bail out ailing oil and gas company Sapura Energy Bhd could be put to better use to serve the rakyat.

Rafizi was responding to a call by former prime minister Najib Razak to save Sapura from going bankrupt.

The government-linked company (GLC) announced a loss of RM8.9 billion last year, which Najib said was the largest for any Malaysian GLC in history.

“If Najib’s call is heeded, the rakyat’s money that could be used to build the expertise and skills of small entrepreneurs, youths, provide educational loans and the like will continue to be allocated to protect a handful of elites,” Rafizi said in a statement today.

“When these elites led luxurious lifestyles, they never cared about their responsibility to provide a good return on investment to the rakyat.”

In a statement yesterday, Najib urged the government to provide loans or instruct Petronas or Khazanah Nasional to take over ownership of Sapura Energy from Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), which owns 40% of the company.

Apart from stating that 10,000 high-paying jobs would be lost and around 4,500 vendors or suppliers would be affected if Sapura were to go bankrupt, Najib also said this would have a dire effect on local investors.

While he sympathised with the plight of the Sapura staff facing an uncertain future, Rafizi said that spending billions of ringgit on Sapura at a time when businesses and employees across the country are also facing tough times was unfair.

He also said billions of ringgit had already been injected into Sapura over the past decade.

“Despite this, Sapura continued to experience financial problems at a time when crude oil prices are at high levels,” he said, adding that this was in contrast to other oil and gas companies which benefited handsomely after crude oil prices spiked over the past year.

“I will continue to monitor this issue and present some figures in the coming days to remind the people not to be fooled again by Najib’s idea of economic management

“I am waiting to see if he will reply to my statement as he has been so passionate about answering issues on his social media.

“With my return to the political arena, I hope to provide feedback on every one of Najib’s perverse ideas.”

Last week, Rafizi announced his return to active politics after taking a step back in December 2019 to focus on a start-up project. – FMT