The government needs three years to reduce the national debt to the ceiling level of 54 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) from 80 percent currently, says Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said despite various challenges after taking over from previous administration, the present government had managed to reduce the debt of more than RM1 trillion to its current level.
"We have tough jobs simply because the last government left behind a lot of unpleasant legacies, for example, they borrowed too much money far beyond the ceiling determined by the government.
"We need to pay our debt and reduce to a reasonable level so it doesn't swallow up all the revenues that we make in the process of governing the country," he said in a speech during a meeting at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo, Japan today.
The prime minister is on a three-day working visit to the country.
Dr Mahathir said the government was on the right track to revive the country, based on the nation’s growing economy and per capita income.
On the back of this development, he said the country had been seeing more foreign investors interested in investing in Malaysia.
"Some foreign investors are pulling out from the stock market, but that is alright.
"In any case, many countries are experiencing a problem because of the US-China trade war, (and) we are also affected, but not as bad as other countries," he said, adding that the government would like to bring in more investments.
The premier also said Malaysia needed “true” reports on its situation to help it recover.
"Negative reports about Malaysia are not something that helps us to recover and we need to have true reports, not anything unduly favouring Malaysia, but a true report on what is happening in Malaysia," he said.