National debt remains at RM1 trillion, says Guan Eng

22 Feb 2019 / 11:49 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Over nine months since Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over federal power from Barisan Nasional (BN), the national debt remains above the trillion ringgit mark, according to Lim Guan Eng (pix).

The Finance Minister said while there has been some reduction to the RM1.087 trillion debt level, the amount was minimal.

This is despite several measures being taken by the current government to slash the debts and liabilities of the government, including reviewing several mega projects like the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and the High-Speed Rail (HSR).

The government had also previously set up a Tabung Harapan trust fund that collected RM202 million through donations from the public.

“We have managed to reduce the debt figure from the previous amount of RM1.087 trillion, but I will have to get the exact details. But, it is still at the trillion ringgit level,” he told a press conference after witnessing the signing ceremony of the novation agreement for Light Rail Transit 3, here, today.

Lim explained that the figures included sums that have to be bonded by the government to service existing debts, after being listed as guarantors.

“We (government) service where we are guarantors. That means we are already paying (debts), because the primary borrowers cannot pay. 1Malaysia Development Berhad is a good example.

“So we are also talking about situations where we have to look at the obligations that we have to pay,” he said.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had, in May last year following PH general election victory, revealed that the country’s debt has reached an alarming one trillion ringgit, which Lim later explained included liabilities.

Former premier Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has maintained that the debt was at RM686.8 billion, based on the universally accepted method of measurement, which does not take into account liabilities.

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