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(File pic) Umno Youth deputy chief Khairul Azwan Harun has questioned the RM1 Trillion debt figure announced by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. (NSTP/ZUNNUR AL SHAFIQ)

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth deputy chief Khairul Azwan Harun has questioned the RM1 Trillion debt figure announced by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said if the international standard definition on national debt is applied, Malaysia's national debt is at RM686.8 billion which was confirmed by a Bank Negara Malaysia’s report.

"The Prime Minister announced that Malaysia's debt was at an alarming level of RM1 trillion, so it is not impossible for anyone to question its validity as being too huge.

"Even the Bank Negara report in March 2018 showed that Malaysia's domestic economy is doing well. Malaysia's economy is expected to grow at a firm pace of between 5.5 per cent and 6 per cent in 2018," he said.

"So, the question is, from where did the prime minister suddenly "pick" the national debt figure which is is now RM1 trillion?" he said in a statement today.

Khairul Azwan was commenting on Dr Mahathir's announcement that Malaysia’s debt now stood at RM1 trillion and required various remedial measures and solutions.

He also asked whether the announcement aounted to a political blame game.

"Is his adviser (Dr Mahathir) failing to provide accurate information or is it just a political trick so people think that the rate of national debt increased because of the weakness of the previous government?", he asked.

Meanwhile, former Finance Ministry’s Strategic Communications director, Datuk Lokman Noor Adam also raised the question as to where did Dr Mahathir "picked up" the figure.

He said the statement, which contradicted BNM's report, appeared to be a "white lie" aimed at justifying Pakatan Harapan's previous claims that the nation was on the verge of bankruptcy.

“Before this, they were saying that the previous government is in a bad shape because of debts but (strangely) four days after the formation of a new government, BNM governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim announced that our economy in a good shape.

“To ensure that the people will not notice the lie, Dr Mahathir had to come up with this despite even after a member of the Council of Eminent Persons, Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, said that the national reserve is at its highest, at RM438 billion, while current account surplus at RM15 billion."

He said this after attending a programme organised by the National Tahfiz Al-Quran Institution Coalition (Pinta) at Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah, here.

In the meantime, Lokman also disputed Dr Mahathir's recent statement that many of the figures recording the country’s financial position could be false.

He said it was hard for such thing to occur because various agencies were involved in coming up with the figures.

“For example, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is released by the Department of Statistics and done in accordance to international standards.

“If the figures (given earlier) are wrong, then the PH government should take action against the perpetrators for providing false numbers.

“However, I am confident that they (government servants) are not lying about the country's economic numbers as they have a set of standard operating procedure to adhere to," he said.

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