R. Chander, first Malaysian Chief Statistician (1963-1977) praises Guan Eng for early statement on national debt and stresses urgency of coherent plan to manage Malaysia’s public sector debt
I have received an expert opinion on Malaysia’s public sector debt by Dr. R. Chander, the first Malaysian to hold the office of Chief Statistician of Malaysia (1963-1977) and who went on to serve as the Senior Adviser to the World Banks’ Chief Economist/Vice President from 1977 to 1996. Upon retirement from the Bank, he had served as interntional adviser to multiple international agencies and governments.
Dr. Chander said he was encouraged by the speed with which the Pakatan Harapan government had come to grips with the most pressing issues and praised the Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng for making an early statement on Malaysia’s debt situation
He said: “This was most timely indeed and most astute: it sent a strong signal to markets and had a calming effect; it told the electorate the mess that PH had inherited.
“At the same time it sent a strong message that the debt situation would impede the implementation of several of the electoral promises.
“Concurrently it provided a rationale for the cancellation/suspension of several mega projects that were to be financed by loans – terms of which were rather unfavorable to Malaysia.
“A good side effect was the call to patriotism that was brought out by the launch of the Harapan Fund!”
The question now is: Where do we go from here?
In his opinion piece, which I attached below, he stressed the urgency of coming up with a coherent and sound plan to manage Malaysia’s public sector debt.