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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Najib talks golf, dodgy blogs and free education

PM speaks candidly with Malaysian students in New York while there for the United Nations General Assembly.
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PETALING JAYA: In a rare meeting with Malaysian students in New York, Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is there for the United Nations General Assembly, spoke candidly about numerous issues in the past year including his now infamous golfing date with US President Barack Obama.
In a recording obtained by Malaysiakini, Najib is heard telling the gathering of students, “I am now on record as the only prime minister to be able to play golf with Obama.”
Acknowledging however that the numerous rounds of golf came at an unfortunate time for his people back home who were battling a devastating flood, Najib said, “I did it because I thought it is a very positive way in which we can develop a personal relationship with the US president. I did it for Malaysia, I did it for my people.”
“Unfortunately the timing was wrong, I didn’t get any political dividends,” Malaysiakini reported Najib as saying, in reference to the heavy criticism he suffered at the hands of his political opponents and outraged members of the public.
At the same gathering, Najib told the students to be wary of what they read about him and the government on blogs and news portals as often times the news was not fact-based but merely hearsy.
“Don’t believe everything you read in blogs or news portals because quite a lot of it is hearsay and allegations that are not proven.”
Najib has been the target of mounting bad press in recent months, with The Wall Street Journal and The Sarawak Report running exposes on the USD700 million found deposited in his personal bank accounts in 2013.
There are also the numerous investigations taking place all over the world, namely Singapore, Hong Kong and the US over allegations of corruption involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad, of which he oversees.
On the issue of free education, Najib said it was a possibility but only on condition that the people were willing to pay more in terms of income tax.
“We can reduce PTPTN, we can give free education, but you will have to increase income tax. In Scandinavian countries, the top income tax rate is 65 per cent.
“You can have a lot of things but are you willing to pay 65 per cent income tax?”
Income tax in Malaysia ranges from 10 to 25 per cent, as compared to Norway and Sweden, where 39 per cent and 56.9 per cent respectively of an individual’s income goes to taxes.

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