Site icon The Rojak Pot

Malaysia Has 2nd Most Debt In Asia After Sri Lanka?!

Did the IMF warn Malaysia about having the second most national debt in Asia, after Sri Lanka?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!


Claim : Malaysia Has 2nd Most Debt In Asia, After Sri Lanka!

This post about IMF warning Malaysia about having the second most national debt in Asia, after Sri Lanka, has gone viral.

People are sharing it as a warning of how Malaysia could very soon descent into the economic chaos and misery affecting Sri Lanka.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that Malaysia is in a huge economic dilemma.

The second largest debt country in Asia after Sri Lanka is Malaysia.

Good Luck to Malaysian… [sic]



Truth : Malaysia Does Not Have 2nd Most Debt In Asia, After Sri Lanka!

This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS circulating on social media, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : IMF Did Not Say Malaysia Is In Economic Trouble

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) did not warn that Malaysia is in huge economic trouble.

In April 2022, it warned that Asian nations, like the rest of the world, are at risk of stagflation from being battered by the war in Ukraine and the slowdown in China from COVID-19.

The region faces a stagflationary outlook, with growth being lower than previously expected, and inflation being higher.

Inflation is now expected to rise 3.2% this year, a full point higher than expected in January.

Despite the downgrade, Asia remains the world’s most dynamic region, and an important source of global growth.
– Anne-Marie Gulde-Wolf, acting director of IMF Asia and Pacific

Fact #2 : Malaysia Does Not Have Second Most Debt In Asia

The claim that Malaysia has the second highest national debt in Asia is also false.

On both the GDP percentage and per capita basis, Singapore has the second highest national debt in Asia, behind Japan. Even Sri Lanka has less debt, per capita or as a percentage of its GDP, than Singapore or Japan.

Malaysia has far less national debt than Sri Lanka as a percentage of its GDP, but twice the debt on a per capita basis.

Here is a comparison I created of countries with the highest national debt in Asia :

Country Year National Debt Debt
(% of GDP)
Debt Per Capita
Japan 2020 $13,054 billion 259% $103,386
Singapore 2021 $536 billion 132.8% $98,410
Sri Lanka 2020 $81.7 billion 101.2% $3,726
Mongolia 2021 $14.3 billion 94.7% $4,294
India 2020 $2,402 billion 90.1% $1,741
China 2020 $10,115 billion 68.1% $7,164
Malaysia 2021 $239 billion 63.4% $8,644
Philippines 2021 $226 billion 57.5% $2,055

Fact #3 : IMF Optimistic Malaysia Will Expand By 5.75% In 2022

In May 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) actually announced that it is optimistic that Malaysia’s economy will expand by 5.75% in 2022, driven by pent-up domestic demand and continued strong external demand.

It also said that Malaysia’s high vaccination rates, and limited movement restrictions are supporting economic expansion.

Fact #4 : High Debt Is Not Necessarily Bad

While a high national debt is not ideal, it is not necessarily a bad thing either. It really depends on how much interest needs to be paid on the debt, and what the government is using it for.

Unlike individuals who will die eventually, the government of a country can last for hundreds of years. So governments do not have to pay back all of their debts within a certain amount of time.

As long as the government can keep paying interest on its debt, it can continue to borrow money to service deficits in its budget, or to invest in projects that grow the economy.

Fact #5 : How Governments Use Money Matters More

Just like how you can use borrowed money to invest in assets or splurge on liabilities, how the government uses the borrowed money matters more than how much it borrows.

If the government uses borrowed money to invest, that will spur growth that allows it to easily repay its debts while driving down the interest it pays.

But if the borrowed money is lost through corruption or wasteful projects, the government will find it harder to pay interest on the debt and may even default on payments.

Fact #6 : High Government Spending During Pandemic Is Expected

Practically every government in the world was forced to spend significantly more during the pandemic. Most run into large deficits during the pandemic because :

This isn’t unique to Malaysia, but applies across the world. That’s why Malaysia’s national debt jumped significantly after January 2020.

Fact #7 : Malaysia National Debt Only Increased By 4.5% In 2021

Malaysia’s national debt increased from $228.7 billion in 2020, to $239 billion (RM 979.8 billion) in 2021 – an increase of about 4.5% year-on-year.

While this increase pushes Malaysia close to a national debt of 65% of its GDP, it is still much lower than many other countries.

More importantly, Bank Negara Malaysia reported international reserves of $116.9 billion as of 31 December 2021, which is enough to finance 7.7 months of retained imports, and is 20% higher than the total short-term external debt.

In other words, Malaysia is not anywhere close to collapsing economically, like what happened in Sri Lanka.

Please help us FIGHT FAKE NEWS by sharing this fact check article out, and please SUPPORT our work!


Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal :

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.


Recommended Reading


Support Us!

If you like our work, please support us by visiting our sponsors, or donating to our fund. Thank you!

Exit mobile version