Tok Pa: Fitch rating downgrade not a reflection of Malaysia’s inability to service debt

The Twin Towers are seen through a pair of binoculars in Kuala Lumpur July 21, 2020. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
The Twin Towers are seen through a pair of binoculars in Kuala Lumpur July 21, 2020. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — The downgrade by Fitch Ratings also reflects the impact of Covid-19 on the economy and not solely Malaysia's ability to service its debt, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

“Malaysia never had a record of not servicing its debt and our record is very good. Our economic situation was also strong and diverse, with an average growth rate of 6.1 per cent during the period 1971-2019.

“This figure is among the highest in the world, where developing countries reached three per cent in the same period. It showed Malaysia’s international reserves and exports were at a good level,” he said in Bicara Naratif on TV1 tonight.

Nevertheless, he said, the government would take note of the downgrade and strive to improve the country's financial position.

Mustapa said Malaysia had gone through various serious economic crises including the financial crisis of 97/98 and 2008.

“When we faced a financial crisis, our economy would recover quickly and based on past records, we are confident we will be able to repeat it.

“In any case, we need to pay attention to financial management, national governance and political stability. The government is committed to ensuring that the country recovers,” he said.

On Dec 4, Fitch Ratings revised Malaysia's Long-Term Foreign Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to 'BBB +' from 'A-' with a stable outlook following the Covid-19 crisis which not only impacted the country’s key credit metrics but also those of other countries. — Bernama

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