Wong said the PAC was concerned about the increase in federal government debt, with the debt in 2019 standing at RM979.814 billion, an increase from RM879.56 billion in 2020. ― Bernama pic
By Soo Wern Jun
Thursday 06 October 2022 15:53 MYT
KUALA LUMPUR, October 6 – Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Wong Kah Woh today raised concerns over interest payments on Federal Government loans.
Wong said that of the total revenue collected, 16.3% was for loan interest payments.
“In other words, for every RM1 collected, 16 sen will be used for loan interest service,” Wong told reporters at a press conference in Parliament here today.
This was one of PAC’s concerns highlighted in the Auditor General’s (LKAN) report on the financial statements of the federal government, state governments and state agencies for the year 2021 which was filed in Dewan Rakyat Earlier in the day.
Wong also said the PAC is concerned about the rising federal government debt, with the debt in 2021 standing at RM979.814 billion compared to RM879.56 billion in 2020. — 63.4% of gross domestic product (GDP).
He said that although the Auditor General’s certificate was issued without reprimand, there are a few issues that require the attention of the government.
Wong said these included repaying maturing loans with new loans and reducing development spending.
“In 2021, the government disbursed gross loans amounting to RM217.201 billion, and 52.4% or RM113.674 billion was used for principal repayment of maturing loans.
“So what we can see here is that of the RM217.201 billion in gross lending, only 28.7% or RM62.317 billion was used for Development Fund purposes.
“So earlier we talked about RM62.317 billion being transferred to the Development Fund, out of that number, only RM40.994 billion was used for this purpose,” Wong said.
He pointed out that there was a slight percentage decrease from 2020 where RM37.530 billion or 77.3% was utilized for the Development Fund.
Auditor General Datuk Seri Nik Azman Nik Abdul Majid, who was also present at the press conference, said the increase in federal debt to RM979.814 billion was due to gross lending of RM217.201 billion.
“Of course, if you look at the figures before, these loans have always been made to finance the Development Fund.
“It’s just that now, this year (2021) and the year before (2020), Covid-19 has happened, and part of that fund has been used to stimulate the economy and help businesses that have been affected by Covid-19.
“We understand that, but we are worried – the rise in debt cannot continue and that means it should be a short-term measure.
“Our view is that the government needs to take steps to address this issue so that it is more manageable,” he said.
Nik Azman added that due to accrued interest payments, for every RM1 income collected, 16 sen is used to pay interest payments.
“This cannot continue, although we understand it is temporary, so our job as listeners is to increase the pressure on the issue,” he said.