Malaysians contribute $37m to help pay off country’s staggering national debt

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Malaysians have contributed more than 150 million ringgit (37 million dollars) to help pay off its staggering national debt, the country’s Finance Ministry said Tuesday.

Tabung Harapan Malaysia, also known as the Malaysia Hope Fund, surpassed the 150-million-ringgit mark less than two months after it was launched on May 30.

The fund was set up after members of the public said they would donate money to alleviating national debt, which is estimated to have surpassed 247 billion dollars, or 80 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

The current government has accused the previous ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) – led by scandal-plagued former prime minister Najib AbdulRazak – of causing debt to balloon as a result of economic mismanagement and corruption.

Najib has been charged with multiple counts of criminal breach of trust and abuse of power for his involvement in a massive corruption scandal at 1MDB, a state development fund that he set up and administered during his nine-year tenure as prime minister.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed has prioritised reducing the country’s debt and liability burden since taking office in a shock landslide victory over BN in the May 9 general election.

The government has said it might scrap a multi-billion-dollar high-speed railway project to Singapore and is reviewing other large-scale infrastructure projects, mainly involving Chinese investments, to slash costs. (dpa/NAN)

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