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Malaysia's national debt now at RM1.5 trillion, or over 80pct of GDP

Malaysia's national debt including liabilities has reached RM1.5 trillion. NSTP/AIZUDDIN SAAD

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia's national debt including liabilities has reached RM1.5 trillion and should be addressed urgently, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said.

This was already more than 80 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

The figure also suggests that Malaysia's budget deficit will widen further than the earlier estimate of 5.8 per cent of the GDP for 2022.

"The economic uncertainties are still not easing. The economy is still considered dim and this was also contributed externally including the Ukraine-Russia conflict as well as global recovery post-Covid.

"The problem with our debt is it has already touched RM1.2 trillion and if includes liabilities, it is RM1.5 trillion.

"We have to accept this reality. We cannot feel complacent, living with the culture of contentment as if there is no problem," Anwar said during the 2023 Budget dialogue here today.

Also present were deputy Finance Ministers Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan and Steven Sim Chee Keong, as well as deputy secretary general of treasury Datuk Johan Mahmood Merican.

The new 2023 Budget is expected to be tabled in the Parliament on Feb 24.

The original 2023 was presented on Oct 7 by the then finance minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz with a total allocation of RM372.3 billion but was not approved due to the dissolution of Parliament three days later to make way for the 15th general election (GE15).

Anwar was reported to have said that the government will look at the proposals in the budget tabled by the previous government and make the necessary changes before tabling his government's budget.

Meanwhile, Anwar said it had taken him only two months in the office to recognise that the government would be able to save around RM10 billion from leakages from its procurement system.

Hence, he said the mandate of the unity government remained - to change the orientation of the system in order to ensure that the vast majority of citizens benefit from economic initiatives and reforms.


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