COMMENT | "Houston, we have a problem" may seem like something scripted by Hollywood. But change it to Putrajaya, the gravity of the situation is several times more serious than Apollo 13 trying to return to Mother Earth - indeed, without any navigational tools or landing gear, except an untested parachute.
Yet this is precisely what Malaysia is facing, a putative hard landing if the national debt is not handled with great diffidence and dexterity. In other words, if the rationalisation of the government’s overspending and excesses are not reined in now.
Yet, blind defenders of the old regime, are echoing the same view of ex-prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, that high debt is acceptable if one can afford it. That a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over US$300 billion can have a debt of up to US$250.6 billion including interest since such payments can be brought forward to the next few decades anyway.
Not surprisingly, pro-debt advocates proceeded to offer the high debt to GDP ratio of the US and UK, even Singapore and Japan as prime examples of why high national debt is acceptable and fine. Thus a national debt of over 100 percent in each of these cases was ...