PETALING JAYA – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan (pix) has called on Malaysians and certain parties to stop spreading fear about the state of Malaysia’s economy.
In a post on his Facebook page on Thursday, Abdul Rahman sought to dismiss claims being circulated on WhatsApp warning of the dangers of Malaysia’s increasing debt in relation to its gross domestic product (GDP).
“Much of the anxiety and accusations is that our ratio is close to the 55% self-imposed limit set by the Barisan Nasional government and that if we breach this limit, Malaysia will be in trouble.
“Certain, more irresponsible, messages even allege Malaysia will be bankrupt if we breach this 55% level,” said Abdul Rahman.
All of this was not true, he said.
According to him, Malaysia’s current debt-to-GDP ratio was manageable and the economy was still enjoying decent economic growth.
He said that Malaysia’s economy has grown 17-fold since 1986 so it was only logical that with the increase in income, Malaysia could “comfortably afford to carry more debt in absolute terms compared to the past”.
He added that the current debt-to-GDP ratio of 53.4% was nowhere near as high as during the period between 1980 and 1985, when the ratio increased to 103.4%.
“If we did not go bankrupt at 103.4% in 1985, then how are we going to be bankrupt at 55%?” he asked, though he mentioned that the Government had no intention of breaching the 55% limit.
Abdul Rahman said that Malaysia’s debt levels should be looked at in relation to its income and not just based on absolute terms.
There were 70 countries with a higher debt-to-GDP ration than Malaysia, he said, which included developed countries such as Germany, Canada, the United States and Singapore.
“Malaysians and certain political parties should avoid spreading misinformation or engage in scare tactics that will end up damaging both investor and consumer confidence in our economy.
“This is akin to sabotaging our own economy,” he said.
By all accounts, he said, the Government’s transformation plan was proving successful and its policies are now showing strong results. – ANN