(File pix) "You can mislead the people but you cannot mislead the experts,” the former premier, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in a Facebook posting today. Pix by Farizul Hafiz Awang

KUALA LUMPUR: International credit rating agency, Moody's had independently assessed the Pakatan Harapan government's claims of RM1 trillion debt and self-declared debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio of 80.3 per cent and had found it to be untrue said Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“Moody's have found those claims to be untrue and have maintained our debt ratio to be at 50.8 per cent declared by the BN (Barisan Nasional) government previously.

"You can mislead the people but you cannot mislead the experts,” the former premier said in a Facebook posting today.

Knowing how important such figures are and the impact it has on the economy, the former prime minister said the BN government had always been transparent in its disclosures and had adhered to strict international standards of reporting.

“Even based on the PH's government ratio of 80.3 per cent, it is still lower than the 103.4 per cent ratio reached in the mid 1980s - a ratio that had stayed above 70 per cent for a long period during Tun Mahathir's first term as Prime Minister.

“Malaysia did not go bankrupt then so there is no logic that Malaysia will be bankrupt at 50.8 per cent or even at 80.3 per cent - especially since 97 per cent of our government debt is denominated in Ringgit,” said Najib.

He said the PH government must have the integrity to adhere to international standards and keep politics out when it comes to financial reporting.

Najib said that over the past month, the RM1 trillion debt story had contributed to the large foreign funds out-flow from Malaysian bond markets and in the 25 consecutive days of net foreign selling of local share market - a situation that can only cause losses to retail investors as well as the savings and dividends of funds such as EPF, Tabung Haji and ASN/ASB.

Moody’s Investors Service earlier today in a statement said it had maintained its estimate of Malaysia’s direct government debt at 50.8 per cent of GDP in 2017 and its assessment of contingent liability risks posed by non-financial sector public institutions has also not changed following some statements by the new government.

“However, the new administration’s treatment of large infrastructure projects that may be placed under review but have benefited from government-guaranteed loans in the past, and outstanding debt from state fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), will play an important role in determining risks that contingent liabilities pose to the credit profile,” it said.

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