Malaysia Seeks to Lift Government Debt Ceiling to 65% of GDP

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said that Malaysia’s cabinet is seeking parliamentary approval to lift the country’s statutory debt ceiling and increase funds for COVID-19 measures.

Zafrul told CNBC on Sep. 14 that Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob wants to add $10.8 billion to its COVID-19 funds to support businesses, households, and health systems.

According to Zafrul, the Malaysian government will propose to the parliament in October to raise the debt ceiling from 60 percent to 65 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to finance the increase.

“We believe that as the economy recovers, it is wrong to be too quick in pulling support,” Zafrul said, adding that Malaysia will continue expanding fiscal policy until 2022.

Malaysia raised its debt ceiling from 55 percent to 60 percent of GDP in 2020 to curb the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, and was the country’s first increase since the 2009 global financial crisis.

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