Lim Guan Eng

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Finance has set up the Debt Management Office (DMO) to review and manage the government’s debt and liabilities.

Minister Lim Guan Eng said the DMO is designed to keep government debt and liabilities in check by preventing them from growing out of control, and put a stop to reckless borrowings without valid reasons.

“The office is among the institutional reforms carried out to strengthen the government’s fiscal position that is closely monitored by international credit rating agencies,” he said in a statement today.

Lim Guan Eng

He said the DMO’s duties include scheduling bond issuance and overall borrowings by government, statutory bodies and government-owned companies in an orderly fashion to attain the cheapest interest rates and coupon payments.

It also includes restructuring relevant bonds and borrowings wherever possible to save costs by reducing debt repayments and formulating strategies to reduce the government’s debt and liability burden.

The DMO will be chaired by Lim as the Finance Minister, and the establishment of the office was agreed to by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Members of the DMO include Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Bakar, Treasury secretary-general Datuk Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir, Ministry of Economic Affairs secretary-general Datuk Saiful Anuar Lebai Hussen and Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus.

Other members are Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) executive chairman Datuk Syed Zaid Albar, Permodalan Nasional Bhd Group chairman Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Accountant-General of Malaysia Datuk Saat Esa, Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr Muhammad Abdul Khalid and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Malaysia executive chairman Datuk Mohammad Faiz Azmi.

Lim said the DMO would craft the necessary strategies to reduce the country’s financial burden and put the plan into action.

“The formulated strategies and plans will be presented to the Fiscal Policy Committee, chaired by the prime minister,” he said.

In the 2019 Budget tabling last year, Lim announced the setting up of the DMO to oversee the debts of the federal government, statutory bodies and special purpose vehicles companies in a holistic manner. – Bernama