PETALING JAYA: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has cut short his Chinese New Year holidays in Penang to fly to Japan for talks on the RM7.4 billion samurai bonds as part of a financial aid package from Japan to Malaysia.
A highly-placed source told FMT that Lim left this morning to meet Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso for the next “two to three days” over the bond issuance.
It is also learnt that the matter was in the final legs of discussion before the bonds are formally issued next month. It will be the single largest financial foreign assistance ever since Pakatan Harapan took over after the May 9 polls last year.
The RM7.4 billion yen-denominated, 10-year bond is expected to spur a return of Japanese investors to Malaysia and spur the economy.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, during his trip to Japan last December, had said the bonds would ease the high financial burden due to commitments made by the previous administration.
Japanese ambassador to Malaysia Dr Makio Miyagawa had told Bernama that the yen-denominated bonds will be issued in the Tokyo market to ensure there are enough funds to replace the “very high-interest rate” debts undertaken by the past administration.
He had also said the second package will involve the Japanese funding “sizeable projects” and programmes, with low-interest rates and long repayment periods, including for educational and human resource development programmes.