Malaysia is no longer under pressure from financial problems as the debt issue has been handled prudently, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad declared on Wednesday (Jul 10).
In an interview with Bernama radio, the veteran politician said the ability to lessen the pressure on Malaysia’s financial situation was a notable achievement of his Pakatan Harapan (PH) government since it came to power.
He noted that not many countries facing a similar situation like Malaysia would be able to address the problem.
“I feel there are many problems that we can mitigate; we were able to handle our financial problem. We are no longer under pressure from the financial problem because we have managed it prudently,” he said.
“We are not pressured to the extent of having those who have given us loans making demands, pressuring us. That has not happened.”
He stressed: “We can handle the financial situation of our country. We can say this is an achievement.”
After PH came to power last May, the government revealed that it was saddled with debts exceeding RM1 trillion (US$241 billion).
“When we came to power and we were able to see from within, we found that the problem was much bigger (than what the public knew) and that it will take some time (to be overcome),” he said during the interview.
Among the measures taken by the PH government to mitigate the country’s financial woes included reviewing mega projects and past deals struck by the Barisan Nasional government, going after allegedly stolen 1Malaysia Development Berhad funds and declaring an all-out war against corruption.
In April, the prime minister said national debt had declined to RM686 billion. This was a manageable level, but the government is still considering selling some assets to trim the deficit further, he added.
Dr Mahathir, who turned 94 on Wednesday, explained that the fundamentals of Malaysia’s financial recovery plan have already been laid.
“I think that over the next three years, our problem will be reduced but not to the extent of recovering easily,” he added.
“It may take between 10 and 15 years for us to recover to being an Asian Tiger.”