RM623.3 billion… AND FALLING!

  
One look at the headline above and the untrained mind would scream in panic.

However…

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.
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https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2186rank.html
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/322001
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/bahasa/article/hutang-negara-rm568.9-bilion-atau-52.8-daripada-kdnk

  

Bat Journalism

“As blind as a bat.”

That is how I would describe most journalists today. They never understand not a scintilla of what they write but they write them anyway. Corrections can be made later no matter if the damage has been done and is irreversible.

The latest intentional or unintentional faux pas is about the PLUS highway concession, quoting Deputy Works Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Sirlin in her answer to a supplemental question from Datuk Ahmad Fauzi Zahari (BN – Setiawangsa). One portal reported:

  
The report above is as if the decision for a toll hike every whatever the number of years set in the agreement. What the portals have not mentioned is that it is up to the government to allow any toll hike after all concerns have been weighed. 

Of course you have opportunistic baboons such as Tony Puaka to further add to the confusion:

  
The actual answer by the Deputy Minister is as follows:

1.​Lebuhraya Utara Selatan (PLUS) telah mula dibina pada tahun 1989 dan siap pada tahun 1994 dengan kos sebanyak RM5.9 bilion. Kos projek ini ditanggung sepenuhnya oleh syarikat konsesi PLUS, kecuali kos pengambilan tanah yang ditanggung oleh Kerajaan. Berdasarkan perjanjian konsesi tambahan terkini (2011), tempoh konsesi Lebuhraya PLUS akan tamat pada 31 Disember 2038. Setakat ini Kerajaan tidak ada perancangan untuk melanjutkan lagi tempoh konsesi tersebut.

 

2.​Dalam tahun 2011, PLUS telah melaksanakan pengstruktaran semula dimana PLUS terpaksa membuat pinjaman sejumlah RM30.6 billion melalui penerbitan bon. Bayaran balik faedah pinjaman telah mula pada tahun 2012 manakala bayaran pokok hanya akan bermula pada tahun 2017 sehingga 2038.

 

3.​Untuk makluman Ahli Yang Berhormat, syarikat PLUS merupakan pemegang konsesi bagi 6 lebuh raya iaitu:

 

• Lebuhraya Utara Selatan

• Lebuhraya Lingkaran Tengah ELITE

• Lebuhraya LINKEDUA

• Jambatan Pulau Pinang

• Lebuhraya Butterworth Kulim

• Lebuhraya Seremban Port Dickson

 

4.​Melalui penstrukturan semula pada tahun 2011, hasil keuntungan terkumpul pemegang konsesi Lebuhraya PLUS sehingga 2014 adalah RM26 juta. Secara puratanya, 50% daripada hasil keuntungan adalah digunakan untuk membayar balik faedah pinjaman. Syarikat PLUS telah membuat pinjaman melalui penerbitan bon berjumlah RM30.6 bilion. Pinjaman ini dibuat pada tahun 2011 semasa penstrukuturan PLUS Berhad.

 

5.​20-25% digunakan untuk membiayai kos operasi dan penyenggaraan, ini termasuk lebih kurang 25% jajaran yang tidak dikenakan tol.

 

6.​15-20% adalah untuk kerja-kerja upgrading, termasuk pembinaan persimpangan bertingkat Sungai Buaya, Bukit Gambir, Kuala Kangsar, Ainsdale dan kerja-kerja naiktaraf Lorong Keempat Lebuhraya Utara Selatan.

 

7.​Baki 10% adalah untuk bayaran balik kepada pemegang saham yang terdiri daripada KWSP (49%) dan Khazanah (51%).

 

8.​Untuk makluman Ahli Yang Berhormat juga, perjanjian konsesi PLUS telah mengalami penstrukutran semula kadar tol sebanyak 4 kali iaitu pada tahun 1999, 2002, 2005 dan 2011 di mana kadar tolnya telah mengalami beberapa perubahan daripada penggunaan Consumer Price Index (CPI), 26% setiap 5 tahun pada tahun 1999 dan kepada 10% setiap 3 tahun pada tahun 2005 dan akhir sekali pada tahun 2011 di mana kenaikan kadar tol diselaraskan kepada 5% setiap 3 tahun.

 

9.​Kadar tol PLUS tidak dinaikkan sejak tahun 2005. Dalam penstrukturan semula kadar tol tahun 2011, tiada kenaikan tol sehingga 2015. Manifesto PRU 13 BN menetapkan pengurangan kadar tol secara berperingkat lebuh raya Antara Bandar. Sehubungan dengan itu, Kerajaan akan berunding dengan syarikat konsesi bagi memenuhi akujanji manifesto tersebut.

 

10.​Untuk makluman Ahli Yang Berhormat juga, jajaran Lebuhraya Utara Selatan bermula dari Bukit Kayu Hitam hingga ke Johor adalah sepanjang 848km. Lain-lain lebuhraya ELITE (63km), BKE (17km), SPDH (23km), JPP (13.5km).

 

11.​Untuk makluman Ahli Yang Berhormat, jumlah keuntungan selepas cukai PLUS Berhad bagi tahun kewangan berakhir 31 Disember 2014 ialah sebanyak RM8.4 juta, iaitu mengambikira PLUS Berhad sebagai entiti korporat tunggal yang mengendalikan 5 lebuhraya selepas pengstrukturan semula PLUS mulai bulan November 2011

PLUS operates six highways with a total distance of 964.5km. PLUS has not had a toll increase since 2005. As a result of a restructuring exercise in 2011, PLUS has had to raise RM30.6 billion through bonds issuance. 50 percent of its profit since then has gone to the payment of loan interest while 20 to 25 percent has been allocated for the operations and maintenance of the highways, 15 to 20 percent to upgrading works, while the balance of 10 percent has gone to the payments to the shareholders i.e KWSP and Khazanah.

The above profit was at RM26 million (2014).

What we must also remember, because the toll concession agreements are all legacies of a certain former Prime Minister, the original agreement allowed for a hike of 10 percent every three years. The current Prime Minister initiated for the takeover and has had the agreement renegotiated in 2011 to a hike of 5 percent every three years. However, there has been no hike since 2005.

And if I understand the statement correctly there will not be any automatic hike and that the government is committed in reducing intercity toll rates until 2018.

Blind dingbats who call themselves journalists should act more responsibly when reporting. Sensationalism sells, but that only goes to prove that you are just another opportunistic baboon like Tony Puaka.