KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 ― The ongoing institutional reforms, greater accountability, fiscal transparency and political stability are credit positives which led to the government’s strong credit ratings, said Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng.
In a statement today, Lim said the Ministry of Finance welcomed Fitch Ratings’ confirmation of Malaysia’s sovereign credit ratings at A- with a stable outlook.
“Fitch expects Malaysia’s institutional quality to improve further over time due to the wider implementation of open tenders, fiscal transparency, anti-corruption and institutional reform measures to promote accountability and fiscal responsibility,” he said.
He added that the affirmation was proof that the increase in direct debt bore no adverse impacts, as the government’s overall debt and liabilities’ percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) had been reduced.
“The government’s total debt and liabilities to GDP ratio has reduced by 3.9 per cent to 75.4 per cent as of end-2018, from 79.3 per cent at end-2017,” he said.
Lim said that the government was confident that it would be able to reduce its fiscal deficit from 3.7 per cent of GDP in 2018 to 3.4 per cent in 2019.
“It should be highlighted that Fitch believes the government’s debt level relative to the GDP will gradually decrease over the next few years, due to a clear fiscal consolidation plan outlined by the government,” he said.
On Thursday, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Malaysia's long-term foreign currency issuer default rating at A- with a stable outlook.
It said the key rating drivers were the country’s strong and broad-based medium-term growth with a diversified export base, while noting concerns about the high public debt and some lagging structural factors. ― Bernama