Malaysia’s finances stable now despite higher debt, best in past three years, says A-G Wan Suraya

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 — Malaysia is doing much better financially now and has achieved stability even with a higher sovereign debt when compared to the past three years since the Covid-19 pandemic, Auditor-General Datuk Wan Suraya Wan Mohd Radzi said today.

Because of that, she said the National Audit Department was able to provide the federal government with a Certificate Without Reprimand With Other Matter for its latest financial statement.

“I wanted to emphasise that the performance of the financial statement is stable and in fact it’s much better than last year.

“So yes debt has increased, but at the same time, our revenue has also increased and our financial performance has also increased,” she said in a news conference at Parliament.

She said that everything has increased, including the GDP, “and that has helped in terms of strengthening the financial performance and that is why we gave our Certificate Without Reprimand With Other Matter which is a higher or better rank than the last three years”.

Wan Suraya said that sovereign debt is unavoidable as the government will naturally need to borrow money to carry out development programmes and for repayment of loans and liabilities.

But she said there was nothing to worry about as long as the economy is growing.

“So it’s stable and if we keep on paying our debts — we need to pay our debts — while at the same time (there is) more money, actually last year there was more money for development and I think that is a road to recovery,” she said.

She added that she is looking forward to Budget 2024 that will be tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as he is also finance minister, in Parliament this Friday.

She said that as the auditor-general, she will continue to push the Finance Ministry to ensure there is more money and more allocation for development expenditure while managing the country’s debt. Wan Suraya said Malaysia is on its road to recovery especially during the two years from the Covid-19 pandemic period, and after the economy was reopened in 2022.

“After the economy was reopened in 2022, we see the financial performance has strengthened and we see that revenue has also increased,” she said.

Alluding to a comment made by Public Accounts Committee vice-chairman Wong Shu Qi in Parliament earlier today, Wan Suraya said that the dividends from several state-owned companies including Petronas were also growing, which helped stabilise Malaysia’s financial position.

She said that apart from improvements in Malaysia’s oil-and-gas sector, tax collection had also grown, adding to the country’s revenue.

“All in all, everything has improved,” she said.

The A-G’s 2022 Report was presented in the Dewan Rakyat today after receiving approval from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on September 26.

Wan Suraya said that starting this year, the A-G’s Report will be presented to the Cabinet periodically to be more efficient.


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