By EUGENE MAHALINGAM firstname.lastname@example.orgPETALING JAYA: Malaysia's public debt level rose 12.3% to RM407.11bil in 2010 from RM362.39bil a year earlier, according to the Auditor-General's Report 2010.
National debt grew 12% to RM390.36bil in 2010 from RM348.60bil a year earlier while foreign debt grew 21.5% to RM16.75bil from RM13.79bil in the previous corresponding period, said the report released yesterday.
In 2010, unresolved public debt both at the national and foreign level grew by RM41.76bil and RM2.96bil respectively compared with 2009.
“The national debt level totalling RM390.36bil accounts for 95.9% of the Federal Government's total debt,” auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang said in the report.
He pointed out that the ratio of the Federal Government's debt to gross domestic product at the end of 2010 was 53.1%, which was over 50% for the second year in a row.
The national debt level is governed by various laws that impose a debt ceiling for the Government. Under Act 637 of the Loan (Local) Act 1959, and Act 275 of the Government Investment Act 1983, it is stated that the combined loans raised domestically should not exceed a ceiling of 55% of the nation's GDP.
Meanwhile, Act 403 of the External Loans Act 1963 limits external loan exposure to RM35bil.
The report also revealed that in 2010, the Government received revenue totalling RM159.65bil, which was an increase of RM1.01bil (0.6%) compared with RM158.64bil in 2009.
Accounts receivable for 2010 stood at RM20.37bil while the Government approved allocation amounting to RM149.06bil for operating expenditure. “However, the said allocation was insufficient to cover the expenses amounting to RM151.63bil,” said the report.
The report also revealed the implementation of a rating system based on an accountability index.
“Through this rating system, marks will be given for the compliance if regulations of six main elements in financial management, namely management controls, budgetary controls, receipt controls, expenditure controls, management of trust funds and deposits as well as management of assets and stores.
“The federal ministries and departments rated as excellent become a role model and this would motivate others to diligently improve and enhance their financial management,” it said.