PM: National debt hits RM1.5 trillion and must be urgently addressed

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The national debt, including liabilities, has hit RM1.5 trillion and needs to be urgently addressed, according to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar, who is also Finance Minister, said the country’s economic position is still not strong and also affected by external developments.

“The economy is still considered soft. It is also due to international developments such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the global economy which has yet to recover fully post-Covid-19.

Aizuddin Saad/NST

“Based on the International Monetary Fund’s economic forecast, the downtrend continues. The challenge (for the government) is that the national debt has reached almost RM1.2 trillion. If liabilities are included, the figure has hit RM1.5 trillion,” he said during the Budget 2023 dialogue in Putrajaya today.

Hence, he said, the government will not take the “business as usual” approach but will instead adopt another approach in order to strengthen the country’s economy.

“That is why we present the real figures. Debt service charges for 2023 amount to RM45 billion, representing 15 percent of the national revenue, and this is also the maximum that the country can handle.

“We cannot be under the impression that we are entering 2023 in a comfortable position. If there is a culture of complacency, we will not be able to drive the desired economic growth,” Anwar said.