One look at the headline above and the untrained mind would scream in panic.
According to a parliament answer by Deputy Finance Minister Johari, as at end Sept 30, 2015 our govt debt is now at RM623.3 billion, which is 50.7% of GDP – dropping from 52.8% (RM568,8 billion at June 30, 2014) and 54.7% (RM547.6 billion as at end 2013).
Our debt has increased but our country’s GDP (our national income) has increased much faster due to our steady GDP growth – hence the sizeable drop in the Debt to GDP ratio.
At 50.7% Debt to GDP ratio, according to the CIA fact-book, more than 70 other countries in the world will have to go bankrupt before it reaches our turn.
These countries include: Japan Zimbabwe Greece Lebanon Jamaica Italy Portugal Eritrea Cabo Verde Grenada Ireland Cyprus Belgium Singapore Barbados Spain Puerto Rico France Canada Egypt Bhutan Jordan Antigua And Barbuda United Kingdom Iceland Croatia Austria Saint Kitts And Nevis Belize Saint Lucia Hungary United States Germany Morocco Sudan Albania Sri Lanka Ghana Ukraine Dominica Serbia Sao Tome And Principe Netherlands Malta Aruba Saint Vincent And The Grenadines Israel Seychelles Pakistan Guyana Uruguay El Salvador Mauritius Slovenia Malawi Mozambique Montenegro Finland Brazil Bahamas, The Yemen Costa Rica Slovakia Senegal Vietnam Venezuela India Marshall Islands Syria
The steady drop in our Debt-To-GDP ratio is due to our shrinking yearly budget deficits which have been reducing every year to only 3.2% this year and targeted at 3.1% next year.
The federal government debt as of Sept 30 this year was at RM623.3 billion, said Deputy Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani.
“Of this amount, 96.4 percent or RM601.1 billion was domestic debt, with the balance of RM22.2 billion or 3.6 percent being offshore loans in various denominations of currency.
“The government debt is manageable and categorised as a country with moderate indebtedness,” he told the Dewan Rakyat today.
He said this in response to a question from Ahmad Hamzah (BN-Jasin) who asked for clarification from the finance minister on the federal government debt.
Johari said the level of the federal government debt for the stated period to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 50.7 percent.