National debt is RM655.7 billion, says Najib


KUALA LUMPUR: The national debt stands at RM655.7 billion, or 53 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, as at June 2016, said Prime Minister Najib Razak today.

He said of this amount, 95.5 per cent or RM628.8 billion was domestic debt while 4.1 per cent or RM26.9 billion was offshore debt.

“We are considered a country with an average debt. The debt is to pay off deficit which is used to support the government’s operational budget.

“It is a productive loan to grow the economy and support the building of schools, roads, dams and hospitals. It helps the private sector to carry out various activities,” Najib explained during Ministerial Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat.

He was answering Noor Ehsanuddin Mohd Harun (BN-Kota Tinggi) who wanted to know the actual amount of both national debt and government guaranteed loans, and the reasons for these.

The government guaranteed loans as at June 2016 stand at RM180.9 billion or 14.7 per cent of the GDP. The guarantees were given for infrastructure projects and for higher education loans, said Najib.

He assured that the government was committed to ensuring that the national debt would not go higher than 55 per cent of GDP.

Noor Ehsanuddin then asked what steps had been taken to ensure the debt would not increase.

To this Najib replied that the government would focus on better management of loans and payments.

He stressed that the debt was used to grow the economy.

To an additional question by Tan Seng Giaw (DAP-Kepong), who asked what sort of instrument was used to secure the almost RM27 billion offshore debt, Najib said it was done through Sukuk which, he added, was subscribed by the international community.