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Malaysia Turns To Crowdfunding To Repay Debt Of $250 Billion

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| June 4 , 2018 , 15:18 IST

New Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad who came into office in May, has launched an unconventional approach to get the country's $250 billion worth of debt under control, or at least get it started, by crowdfunding. The current national debt of Malaysia is worth around 80 percent of its GDP.

"The rakyat (people) voluntarily want to share their earnings with the government to help ease the burden," the finance ministry said in a statement, while announcing that it would accept donations from the public for a special fund set up to relieve the nation's debt. The Malaysian Finance Ministry has asked all willing citizens to donate to the cause.

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Within 24 hours of launching the "Malaysia Hope Fund", it had raised nearly $2 million, BBC reported.

"There are many Malaysians who were willing to donate to the government when they found out how bad our country's financial situation is," PM Mohamad said, adding "We welcome their patriotic stand."

The idea of crowdfunding to relieve the nation's depth began with 27-year-old Nik Shazarina Bakti who launched a private crowdfunding initiative to help relieve the national debt of Malaysia. She successfully raised around $3,500 before the government stepped in.  

"We can tell our children and grandchildren of this initiative that we all took part in to save Negaraku (my country) Malaysia," she said.

Former Prime Minister Najib Razak has been accused of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from a state fund.