Tabung Harapan collects RM202.7m, says Lim

Under the present govt’s definition, public debt stands at RM1.1t as at June 2018, versus RM686.8b under the previous administration

By NG MIN SHEN / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

The Malaysian government has collected RM202.72 million from the Tabung Harapan Malaysia (THM) trust fund, which will be utilised to repay federal government debts, the Finance Ministry said.

In a statement yesterday, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (picture) said the ministry is in the middle of closing the account, which will then be audited by the National Audit Department (NAD).

The total size of the fund stood at RM202,716,775.10 as at Jan 14, 2019 — the closing date for donations, which was previously extended from Dec 31, 2018, as per a Cabinet decision made on Jan 2, 2019, due to positive feedback from the Malaysian public.

“Contributions made after the period will not be credited into the account and will be returned to the contributors,” Lim said.

To ensure that the management of the THM fund is carried out in an orderly manner and with integrity, Lim also said an Account Committee led by Treasury Secretary General Datuk Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir was set up to determine the use of the money in the fund, in accordance with the procedures set out in the THM Trust Deed.

“The federal government accords its highest appreciation to all Malaysian citizens who have contributed to THM. Their contributions reflect their loyalty and love towards their beloved country.

“It also encourages the government to do its best to solve the debt problems inherited by the federal government,” Lim added.

The THM fund was established on May 30, 2018, after the newly elected Pakatan Harapan administration revealed that the country is in debt to the tune of over RM1 trillion, surpassing the figure announced by the previous government.

Following offers from Malaysians to help pay off the debt, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad subsequently announced that fund would be set up as an official channel to accept donations from members of the public who wished to contribute towards solving the government’s financial woes.

Under the present government’s definition, public debt — which now includes overall liabilities — stands at RM1.07 trillion as at June 2018, versus RM686.8 billion under the previous administration, while the debt-to-GDP ratio is now at 74.6% versus 50.6% previously.

The government is also facing declines in revenue following changes in consumption tax policy and the re-implementation of targeted fuel subsidies.

The THM fund, which received over RM35 million in donations from the public during the first six days of its existence, has since amassed contributions from all walks of life including individuals, Malaysian citizens living abroad, public-listed firms, and small and medium corporations, among others.