S’pore’s public debt per capita 8x Malaysia’s?

Photo: Narin BI/CC BY 2.0Photo: Narin BI/CC BY 2.0

Is Singapore’s Debt Per Capita about 8 times higher than Malaysia’s? 

I refer to the article “Malaysia’s 1 Trillion Ringgit Government Debt Explained” (Bloomberg, May 24).

It states that “Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said this week that the number was higher than previously disclosed under the administration of ousted leader Najib Razak, partly because the state had given guarantees to companies, like 1MDB — the investment fund at the center of a multibillion corruption scandal — which now can’t repay its debt.

That takes the total debt to 1.087 trillion ringgit, or 80.3 percent of GDP, which Lim said was a number Malaysians are “rightly concerned” about and that the government will take action to fix.

‘Bite the Bullet’

“This new government puts the interest of the people first, and hence it is necessary to bite the bullet now, work hard to solve our problems, rather than let it explode in our faces at a later date,” the finance minister said in the statement.”

According to countryeconomy.com – the Debt Per Capita in 2016 for Singapore and Malaysia was US$59,808 and US$5,272, respectively.

The Debt (% GDP) in 2016 for Singapore and Malaysia was 106.77 and 56.22 per cent, respectively.

With the revelation now that Malaysia’s Debt (% GDP) is actually higher at 80.3 per cent – the revised estimate for Debt Per Capita in 2016 is US$7,530 (US$5,272 x 80.3 divided by 56.22).

Does this mean that Singapore’s Debt Per Capita in 2016 was about 7.94 times (US$59,808 divided by US$7,530) higher than Malaysia’s?

Leong Sze Hian


About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.