PETALING JAYA: Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz says Malaysia’s debt levels are set to go up as it embarks on measures to help businesses and citizens deal with the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

In an interview with CNBC yesterday, Tengku Zafrul said the fiscal deficit will be about 5.8% to 6%.

So far, he said, fiscal injections into the economy stand at about 20% of the country’s GDP.

“We are still focused on fiscal responsibility, of course. We have debt-to-GDP now at around 53%, it will end at around 56%. We have approval from Parliament to go up to 60%,” he said on CNBC’s “Asia Squawk Box” programme.

Tengku Zafrul said the government is “optimistic” the economy will expand by about 5.5% to 8% next year, from negative growth this year. For 2020, GDP is expected to be about -5.5% to -3.5%.

To date, Malaysia has rolled out about RM305 billion in stimulus packages to kick-start the economy.


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