KUALA LUMPUR: Johor Bahru MP Akmal Nasir has questioned the RM500 million digital sukuk initiative launched by the government last week, stressing that Putrajaya needed to be honest to Malaysians on the current economic situation.
“It seems right now that they are asking the rakyat to fund themselves,” he told a press conference at the Parliament today.
He said the government also needed to be transparent as to how it was raising funds for the various economic recovery plans announced earlier.
The Sukuk (Islamic bond) Prihatin programme was launched as part of the government’s National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) last week.
Sukuk holders may choose to donate their principal at the point of maturity. The finance ministry has said proceeds from the Sukuk Prihatin will be channelled to the Kumpulan Wang Covid-19 for the implementation of economic recovery measures.
Akmal said this has made it seem as if the government is asking the rakyat to provide funding to the government, even though the government has been claiming that it has enough money for its economic recovery plans.
“The impression is such that the rakyat are forced to get involved in lending to the government,” he said.
Akmal also asked why the government needed to find ways to raise funds domestically.
“Is it that other countries or foreign investors no longer want to lend to
He added the RM500 million sukuk issuance may also result in the government exceeding the 55% statutory debt limit even before the passing of the Temporary Measures for Government Financing (Coronavirus Disease 2019 Bill 2020) that seeks to increase the public debt ceiling to 60%.
Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz had previously said that Malaysia could hit the 55% debt limit by end-2020 due to the economic recovery measures to bolster the impact of Covid-19. He added the 55% statutory debt limit stood at 53.2% as at June 2020.