Malaysia’s national debt has exceeded 1.2 trillion ringgit, or 60% of the gross domestic product in 2023, according to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar. Speaking at the Dewan Rakyat, Anwar said that the national debt has continued to increase, with the country facing a budget deficit for 25 years.
Anwar also highlighted the issue of corruption, stating that it has become “systematized” in Malaysia. He cited the 2022 Corruption Perception Index, which saw Malaysia’s ranking drop from 29th in 1998 to 61st. Anwar revealed that about RM3 billion is related to theft, waste, and disorganized payments of public funds, including RM10 billion in smuggled fuel.
The Prime Minister called for action against corruption, stating that it is a scourge that must be ended for the country to move forward. He emphasized the importance of financial management with integrity, honesty, and transparent reserves and expenditures to avoid mistakes. Anwar also stressed the need for quick responses and an orderly national financial framework, regardless of the challenges faced.
Anwar presented the 2023 Budget, titled “Building a Prosperous Malaysia,” which reflects the government’s responsible principles and its ability to deal with current challenges, including the uncertain global economy challenge. Despite the high national debt, Anwar assured that it is not worrying and should not be a burden to future generations.
However, Anwar acknowledged that the debt expenditure this year has exceeded RM46 billion, or 16% of revenue, which is higher than the 15% level that has been maintained. He clarified that the payment is only an interest payment, not the principal of the debt.
In conclusion, Anwar urged Malaysians to work together to address corruption and manage the country’s finances responsibly. He emphasized that the government is committed to building a prosperous Malaysia for all its citizens.