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Guan Eng claims additional loans in RM58b to repay government's earlier commitment, 1MDB debt

KUALA LUMPUR: Additional government loans RM58bil in the first six months of this year are used, among others, to cover the current commitments undertaken by the previous administration, including repayment of debts belonging to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said that unlike the previous government, which was hiding the repayment of a 1MDB loan from the public, the current government is trying to be as transparent as possible, providing real facts, including on finance.

"We (the current government) are very open and transparent and therefore we will show our real debts. This is not only proper debts, but also a contingent liability and government guarantees.

"Despite the openness in which we show the real financial situation, international rating agencies still have confidence in Malaysia. They have not downgraded Malaysia's credit rating, "he told reporters after launching AIRASIA The Foundation's social entrepreneurship club here on Friday.

Lim said the previous government has actually hidden the fact that they are paying back a 1MDB loan from people.

"As soon as the new government took power, we only know that they (the previous government) repaid the 1MDB loan," he said, adding that any increase in current debts was also caused by existing commitment to development spending.

He said the previous government had incurred a lot of development spending that continued under the new government.

"By the time we complete the three-year road map, we must meet these commitments, and at the same time we hope to implement (other) development infrastructure projects that would be very important for the country in the long term," he added.

Lim said that Malaysia's economic performance so far has shown that the country not only exceeded market expectations, but continued foreign investment.

Meanwhile, the Social Club of the AirAsia Foundation, namely Destination: GOOD, sells over 400 responsible and ethically produced goods from over 30 social enterprises from all over ASEAN.

The Foundation also signed memoranda of understanding with Kraftangan Malaysia to introduce Malaysian crafts to new recipients and with Minconsult Sdn Bhd, the first corporate partner of AirAsia philanthropy, to jointly fund social activities in this area.

In his speech, Lim said that the Airasia Foundation is investing RM 2.1 million over the next two years to transform the club into a center of social entrepreneurship.

"At present, the AirAsia Foundation has 26 scholarship holders from social enterprises from seven countries. On average, each of them received USD 20,000 (USD 1 = USD 4.18) for one year.

"On average, 100 people engaged by social enterprises directly benefited from each grant. I was told that this number would increase thanks to cooperation with Kraftangan Malaysia (through a memorandum of understanding), "he added. – Bernama

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