Malaysians contribute money to pay off $251bn national debt
Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad (Wikipedia)
London, June 1, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Malaysia has taken an unusual step, a crowdfunding campaign to raise money from its citizens to pay off $251bn (N90.6tr) national debt.
In the first 24 hours since the Malaysia Hope Fund — or Tabung Harapan Malaysia — was launched on Wednesday, donations totalled $1.76m
“Truly, Malaysians have taken their patriotism to a greater height, willing to part with their allowances and spare cash to help rebuild this nation we all love.”
A national debt of one trillion ringgit (about $251 billion), which is 80% of the country’s GDP, was announced when the new government took office in May. The handing over of power to the former opposition alliance was a first for Malaysia, where then prime minister Najib Razak was ousted after financial scandals plagued his last years in office.
The finance ministry also praised Shazarina Bakti, who created a fundraising campaign called “Please Help Malaysia!” on GoGetFunding a week ago. It has since raised $3,600.
Shazarina appears to have been the inspiration for the government’s crowdfunding campaign.
“The rakyat (people) voluntarily want to share their earnings with the government to help ease the burden,” said Minister of Finance Lum Guang Yeng, on Wednesday when he announced the fund.
“In order to provide a systematic and transparent platform to ensure all contributions and donations from the people are properly managed and organised, the government has decided to establish a special trust fund.”
The government provided a bank account number to receive donations in the local currency and said it will publicise the fund’s tally daily.