KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's national debt at the end of last year stood at RM257.2 billion or 30.2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Dewan Negara was told yesterday.
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim (pic) said the national debt stood at RM456.1 billion as of Dec 31, representing a slight growth from the last reported figure of RM437.2 billion in October.
However, a large portion of the federal debt was obtained domestically and not from foreign sources.
"About 96 per cent of this debt was attained domestically. Only the remaining four per cent was obtained abroad," he said in response to a question by Datuk Paul Kong Sing Chiu.
Lim said the domestic debts were mostly from Treasury bills and government securities.
He named the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) and Social Security Organisation (Socso) among the instrument holders for these debts.
The foreign debts were mostly obtained through multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
"The low foreign debt is in line with the government's policy to prioritise domestic loans which involves lower costs and minimises the risk of foreign currency exchange," he said.
Lim said the government carefully considered its repayment capacities before any loan was taken.
"The government also ensures that the repayment of the loans is made on time," he said.
In 2011, the government had paid off RM17.7 billion of its debt, which constituted 9.7 per cent of the government's management costs.
The national debt, which comprised debts obtained by both private and government sectors from foreign sources, stood at RM257.2 billion, or 30.2 per cent of the GDP.