Deputy minister: Finance Ministry, Bank Negara did not issue conflicting data on govt debt

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ir Amiruddin Hamzah speaks to reporters July 26, 2018. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ir Amiruddin Hamzah speaks to reporters July 26, 2018. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — The Finance Ministry (MOF) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) did not release conflicting data on the Federal Government’s direct debt, says Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ir Amiruddin Hamzah.

He said MOF and BNM, through their latest documents, both reported Putrajaya’s debt as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 51.8 per cent as at end-2018.

“MOF, through its Fiscal Updates 2018, reported the government’s direct debt position at RM741 billion or 51.8 per cent of the GDP, while BNM’s 2018 annual report also shows the same figures. So there is no issue of conflicting data.

“In fact, the government’s direct debt level remains below (the self-imposed limit of) 55 per cent of the GDP, and the government will continue to practise good governance in administering any development expenditure in order not to exceed the 55 per cent level,” he said during the question-and-answer session in the Dewan Negara today.

He was responding to a question from Senator Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, who asked what steps were being taken by the government to address the “confusion” in terms of the standards of reports issued by MOF and BNM, which he felt might hurt the Malaysian capital market and affect economic growth.

Amiruddin said domestic debt comprised 97.1 per cent or RM719.5 billion of total direct debt, while offshore borrowings made up RM21.5 billion or 2.9 per cent

“In addition, the government has other liabilities such as government guarantees and 1Malaysia Development Bhd debt, bringing the total debt and liabilities amount to an estimated RM1.1 trillion or about 76 per cent of the GDP as at end-2018,” he added. — Bernama