Malaysia's foreign debt at manageable levels: PM

08:17, June 09, 2010      

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Malaysia is successful at maintaining debt at manageable levels with its national debt dropping by over 2 billion ringgit (over 600 million U.S. dollars) in 2009 compared to 2008, said Prime Minister Najib Razak Tuesday.

However, debt-to-the gross domestic product (GDP) ratio rose slightly from 31.9 percent in 2008 to 34.3 percent in 2009, Najib, who is also the Financial Minister of Malaysia, said on Tuesday.

The Malaysian government's foreign debt stood at 236.18 billion ringgit (some 72 billion U.S. dollars) in 2009.

The debt/GDP ratio gradually reduced from 42.3 percent in 2004 to 29.2 percent in 2007 due to the Federal Government's paying back part of it as well as strong performance of its currency ringgit, said Najib.

He said the government was cautious and pragmatic in managing foreign debt, as this would ease foreign borrowings from the public and private sectors, reducing risks related to foreign obligations and ability to repay loans.

He noted that, to further cut debt, the government will encourage public-private partnership programs, which would protect the fiscal position without compromising development and growth goals, as well as improve its spending efficiency.



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