The team of eminent persons has given an assurance that Malaysia will honour its debt obligations under the new government and highlighted that the current political changes in the country are happening at “a very positive time”.
Zeti Akhtar Aziz, who is part of the five-member team, said the country was experiencing a period of adjustment but it was also bolstered by a favourable economic environment such as higher global oil prices.
“Oil is currently trading at above US$70 per barrel so there is some breathing space. Therefore, we need to take this opportunity to implement certain policies so that we will have an orderly adjustment.
“This is also taking into account the capability of institutions such as Bank Negara and the Finance Ministry,” the former Bank Negara governor told Bernama after attending briefing sessions with three international rating agencies today.
Zeti separately met the rating agencies – Moody’s Investors Service, S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings – to discuss the current environment in Malaysia and provide clarity on the broad direction of policies going forward under the newly-formed government.
Among the issues discussed were those related to the goods and services tax (GST) and subsidies and how Malaysia could meet its revenue requirements following the removal of this tax.
Zeti said the new policies were vital, such as increasing the disposable income of the lower and middle-income groups.
“We need to support the overall growth of the economy; therefore, there is the importance of understanding what is the objective to be achieved with this kind of policies, which will generate further increases in (government) revenue,” she explained.
The first lady central bank governor said the team of eminent persons would look at the overall management of the fiscal position, including the governance process, how decisions were made, and the level of transparency and disclosure.
Apart from Zeti, other members of the team are former finance minister Daim Zainuddin, ex-Petronas president and chief executive officer Mohd Hassan Marican, economist prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram and billionaire tycoon Robert Kuok.