You said nothing about PH-era bailouts, Najib tells Dr M

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PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has accused Dr Mahathir Mohamad of being hypocritical following the latter’s disagreement on bailing out Sapura Energy Bhd (SEB).

Yesterday, Mahathir was reported as saying that steps should be taken to trim losses incurred by the oil and gas services company, and that bailing out “failed people” was “not business”.

Taking to Facebook, Najib reminded Mahathir that when he was the prime minister under Pakatan Harapan, Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), headed by then chairman Zeti Akhtar Aziz, had also “bailed out” SEB.

“Back then, he didn’t mention anything about cutting losses, (or) no bailouts or that we shouldn’t save ‘failed people’,” he said.

He said that in 1998, during Mahathir’s first tenure as prime minister, Petronas, through Malaysia International Shipping Corp (MISC), had also bailed out Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd, a company owned by Mirzan Mahathir.

“He didn’t say anything back then.”

Najib said he had only bailed out companies three times during his tenure as the prime minister – SilTerra Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Proton, and Malaysia Airlines.

“I bailed out SilTerra, and it has managed to recover from its  losses. You protested, but Proton’s bailout has proven to be the right move today. MAS was (bailed out) because of the need to take care of the tourism industry and ensure that there was competition for local airlines.

“Do not be like your son,” he said, possibly referring to Pejuang president Mukhriz Mahathir, “someone who protests ideas just because they come from me”.

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