Suggestion for govt to float bond akin to that of Temasek

05 Nov 2018 / 16:42 H.

SINGAPORE: The Malaysian government has received a suggestion to float a retail bond akin to that of Temasek Holdings in the republic as an aggressive way to help trim the country's RM1 trillion debt.
At a "Malaysia A New Dawn: Dialogue With Malaysia Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng'' here last night, a member of the audience working here came with the idea, and gave an assurance that it would be well subscribed.
"As the Minister of Finance, would you consider a retail bond for all of us working in Singapore ... people who have ample Singapore dollars ... we will subscribe," the individual, from Penang, asked.
He also said the government needed to take some fairly aggressive steps to bring down the costs to it.
His suggestion received a round of applause by about 200 Malaysians who attended the dialogue held at Nexus Auditorium of Cuppage Plaza here.
In replying to the suggestion, Lim who was here to meet with rating agencies and investors, said he would prefer to have the bond in Malaysia.
"There is a quite high liquidity in Malaysia. There is high demand for papers. We don't mind you participating in it in Malaysia," he added.
He also noted that not only in the bond market, but "there are a lot of opportunities" in other areas in Malaysia for Malaysians working overseas.
"We welcome you. Malaysia is open for business ... not just government-led businesses, but collaborative efforts," said Lim.
It was reported that Temasek Holdings had upsized its S$400 million (RM1.2 billion) bond offer by S$100 million (RM303 million) following strong demand for its first retail bonds.
Temasek received valid applications amounting to S$1.68 billion (RM5 billion) for the retail tranche, representing a subscription rate of about five times the final public offer size of S$300 million (RM909 million).
In jest, Lim who will fly to Hong Kong today said "when you talk about money I will get excited. If you have ample Singapore dollars, please convert it into the Ringgit".
In the almost two-hour long dialogue, apart from receiving suggestions, he was composed in fielding more than 15 questions centered, among others, on the 2019 Budget.
Asked later by Bernama on the status of the S$15.3 million (RM46 million) that had been unlawfully misappropriated from 1MDB and/or SRC International Sdn Bhd group of companies here, Lim reserved his comments.
"I cannot answer as it is related to ongoing cases. It is better for me to refer to the Attorney General first," he said.
On Tabung Harapan, Lim said the account would be closed by year-end and is expected to reach RM200 million by that time, while the aim is to use the money to pay the country's debts. — Bernama

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