KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 ― Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said today that while Putrajaya has managed to chip away at the federal government’s debt and liabilities, the amount still hovers around RM1 trillion.
“So we have managed to reduce the debt figure from the previous one of [RM1,087 billion], we managed to have some reduction. Let me get you the details, but it is still at the trillion ringgit level.
“We are talking if we include the obligations that we have to pay,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing ceremony of the renovation agreement of the LRT3 project here.
Lim reiterated that the figure includes payments where the government had been listed as the guarantor to service existing debts.
“We service where we are the guarantors, and these guarantors have been paid dues, because we are already paying where the primary borrower cannot pay; 1MDB is a good example,” he added, referring to 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had revealed last year the country’s debt was at 80.3 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), or RM1.087 trillion.
Lim had also previously explained the official debt stood at RM686.8 billion, or 50.8 per cent of the GDP.
Lim explained RM199.1 billion in debts were in government guarantees for various entities and some RM201.4 billion registered as debt to service lease payments through public-private partnerships.
Putrajaya then launched the crowdfunding Tabung Harapan Malaysia as part of the drive to reduce debt and liabilities.
The final collection of the fund was just over RM202 million. Lim had said it will be used to pay off the debt after the fund is audited by the National Audit Department.