Finance minister denies claim govt borrowed money for civil servants’ salaries

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng is pictured at the Parliament lobby, October 15, 2019. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng is pictured at the Parliament lobby, October 15, 2019. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government has never resorted to borrowing money to pay the salaries of civil servants, Lim Guan Eng said today.

The finance minister cited the stable A3 and A- ratings given Malaysia by international agencies to back his assertion.

“If the federal government borrowed to pay the salaries of its civil servants, this would inevitably lead to an immediate credit rating downgrade.

“Let me reiterate unequivocally that the government has sufficient funds to pay our civil servants and will never borrow to do so,” said Lim in a statement to counter Umno’s allegation.

He added that the federal government was unlike the Kelantan government, which requested a loan from Putrajaya to pay state civil servants in October 2018.

The minister was responding to a remark made by the Opposition Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan during the Negri Sembilan budget debate in the state assembly.

Lim said Mohamad’s “casual allegation” was irresponsible, false and can be disapproved easily.

He also pointed out that the government is on target to cut its fiscal deficit from 3.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 to 3.4 per cent this year.

“All borrowings raised by the government are to finance the fiscal deficit and all development expenditures, as had been done under previous administrations.

“None of the borrowings are utilised for operational expenditure, like the payment of salaries,” he said.

Lim added that in the third quarter of 2019, the government’s emoluments came up to RM19.9 billion. In comparison, the government’s total revenue for the same quarter was RM68.8 billion.  

“This means the government’s revenue was more than three times the size of its emoluments,” he added.

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