In a move to dampen the stains of the 1MDB scandal has on his rule, Malaysian PM Najib Razak fought back with the Selangor water crisis, the GST silence his opponents.
In the same breath, IDEAS, a think tank in Kuala Lumpur also defended the implementation of the GST.
The Umno is currently campaigning in favour of the GST, sending WhatsApp messages to stakeholders, the media and individuals across Malaysia.
In his defence of the controversial GST, Najib says it is less damaging than Selangor water woes.
But it is his defence of the GST that has set the tone in the run-up of the Malaysian General Elections.
The state of Selangor went without water for days last week, sparking criticism against the water supply company Syabas that it did not handle the crisis well.
In a repeat of the 2013 water crisis in the state, exploited by the Umno-Barisan Nasional (BN), the Malaysian PM Najib Razak stepped up the game.
He said the water crisis in Selangor was more critical than the 1MDB scandal.
At the onset of the scandal itself, Najib was very silent about the 1MDB, denying that large sums in his private banking account were from the 1MDB.
But with the elections nearing, Najib is pressing the bar higher in an attempt to garner support on the 1MDB while attacking the state of Selangor on the water issue.
However, it is his statement that without the GST the country would face an even bigger budgetary deficit that got the most rebuttal from his opponents.
Opposition leader Mahathir Mohamad said it is Najib’s government that has increased the national debt to its present level.
Mahathir also criticised Najib for attacking his 22 years tenure as PM. Najib said the country’s debt became higher when Mahathir ruled.
“The national debt went up during Najib’s tenure as prime minister. Our work is to reduce the debt.
“What is the basis for his claim? When I was in government, was the national debt this high?” he asked, rebutting Najib.
P Ramasamy, Penang’s deputy chief minister and Perai state assemblyperson altogether attacked the government for its defence of the GST and ‘other burdens’ imposed on the people.
“The BN regime under the leadership of Prime Minister Najib Razak is basically responsible for the current financial mess. How the country is going to ride this mess is a question in the minds of concerned Malaysians, opposition parties and some foreign governments.
“This is the reason why the BN regime’s hold on power is no more tenable, and this is the reason why the opposition front is at pains to inform Malaysians that they have no choice but to get rid of this corruption-infested government in the coming general election,” said Ramasamy in a posting in Malaysiakini.