KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s overall debt liability is RM1.2 trillion but that does not mean the country is bankrupt, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said today.
He said this included the “off-budget” items that existed before Perikatan Nasional took over.
He said this was different from government direct debt which stood at RM854 billion.
“But this does not mean the country is bankrupt,” he said, adding that the debts were being paid on time.
He was replying to Tony Pua (PH-Damansara) who asked about total government liabilities including Federal Government debt, Government Guarantees, and lease payments for Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects carried out under the Barisan Nasional.
Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan) asked if it was true that the Inland Revenue Department’s (LHDN) revenue had dropped and if this would affect the country’s deficit.
Zafrul said the country’s deficit was expected to be between 5.8% and 6% for 2020 but he said the country’s current account was still positive.
However, he said the government’s revenue had dropped between 20% and 30% due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wong Chen (PKR-Subang) then asked if this meant the government’s revenue would drop by RM50 billion to RM70 billion.
Zafrul said that would depend on the country’s gross domestic product.
Wong Chen further asked if Putrajaya would need to issue a bond of RM100 billion to RM150 billion to cover the RM45 billion Covid-19 stimulus package.
Zafrul replied that the RM45 billion was a domestic loan. “Our borrowing will be up by RM45 billion.”