KUALA LUMPUR – The additional government borrowings of RM58 billion in the first six months of this year are used to pay, among others, ongoing commitments made by the previous administration including repayment of debts belonging to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said unlike the previous government, which had hidden the 1MDB loan payments from the public, the current government is trying to be as transparent as possible by stating the actual facts, including on matters related to finances.
“We (current government) are very open and transparent and that is why we will show our true debts. It’s not just the right debts, but also the contingent liability and government guarantees.
“Despite the openness where we show the actual financial position, the International credit rating agencies continue to have confidence in Malaysia. They have not downgraded Malaysia’s credit rating,” he told reporters after the launch of AirAsia Foundation’s social enterprise club here, today.
Lim said the previous government had actually hidden the fact that they were paying the 1MDB loan from the people.
“Just when the new government took over, then only we know that they (previous government) had been paying the 1MDB loan,” he said, adding that any increase in the current debts was also due to the existing commitment for development expenditures.
He said that there were a lot of development expenditures created by the previous government which were continued under the new government.
“Until the three-year road map is completed, we have to fulfil these commitments and at the same time, we hope to carry out (other) development infrastructure projects which would be very crucial to the country in the long run,” he added.
Lim said that the Malaysia’s economic performance had so far shown that the country has not only exceeded market expectations, but foreign investments had also continued to come in.
Meanwhile, AirAsia Foundation’s social club, namely Destination: GOOD, retails more that 400 responsibly and ethically produced goods sourced from over 30 social enterprises from around ASEAN.
The foundation also signed memoranda of understanding with Kraftangan Malaysia to bring Malaysian crafts to a new audience, and with Minconsult Sdn Bhd, the AirAsia philanthropic arm’s first corporate partner, to jointly fund social enterprises outreach activities here.
Earlier in his speech, Lim said that Airasia Foundation was investing RM2.1 million in the next two years with a view to turn the club into a social entrepreneurship hub.
“At the moment, AirAsia Foundation has 26 social enterprise grantees originating from seven countries. On average, each grantee received US$20,000 (US$1=RM4.18) over a period of one year.
“Each grant on average directly benefited 100 persons engaged by the social enterprises. I have been told this number will rise with the cooperation from Kraftangan Malaysia (through the MoU),” he added.