The government’s operational balance has been negative in just three years out of the last 40, and it has not been in deficit since 1987. As required by law, the government only borrows to finance development expenditure, . investment that will raise future capacity to produce. Government debt is nearing the legal debt limit, and they won’t be able to borrow anymore so we’ll have to default A. I won’t post more than a summary the legal limit is a paper tiger and the government can change it anytime it wants. If at any point the government fails to gain legislative approval to raise the limit, in our system of parliamentary democracy that means an immediate dissolution of parliament and fresh general elections. You’re not going to see a repeat of what happened in the US in August here. The US uses a presidential system, where the executive is elected separately from the legislative. Since this system is designed to promote checks and balances, that almost always means that a Democratic President has to deal with a Republican Congress and vice versa. The Treasury says the national debt is RM240 billion but the outstanding government debt is RM437, someone must be lying A. It’s a funny thing but in Malaysia, we don’t use the term “national debt” in the way it’s commonly used elsewhere. Here the term refers exclusively to external debt only, of both the public and private sectors, and not to government debt. So in Malaysia, government debt and national debt mean two very different things. The government’s external debt, by the way, is all of RM17 billion. A. Greece has a 2000 year history of defaulting on its external debt. Greece has had a debt to income ratio over 100 for the last twenty years, a ratio that is expected to climb over 150 this year. Malaysia’s debt to GDP ratio peaked at 70 25 years ago, and is at most 54 today. Greece has something like three quarters of its debt owing to foreigners. Malaysia only owes about one fifth of its government debt to foreigners. Greece is part of the Eurozone, and thus has no control over the issuance of its own money. Malaysia through Bank Negara controls the supply of Ringgit. Worse, the European Central Bank is legally bared from becoming a lender of last resort for the Eurozone governments. Greece is uncompetitive it costs 40 more for a Greek worker to produce a unit of output compared to a German one. Malaysia is not Greece, and we’re not exactly in danger of becoming one in the next ten years. I haven’t thought of here, feel free to post in the comments and I’ll add it to the FAQ Technical Notes: Data on Federal Government borrowing and expenditure from Bank Negara’s Monthly Statistical Bulletin and from the Economic Planning Unit.