PUTRAJAYA: The country’s household debt exposure is not at a worrying level and the non-performing loan (NPL) ratio is still under control, said Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah.
“If we can control personal debt, in terms of loan applications and the ability of the borrower to repay, that is what we should focus on.
”What is important is the loan performance in the financial sector portfolio is of high quality,” he told reporters after launching his ministry’s open day celebrations here yesterday.
The Government was looking at ways to improve the household debt situation, he said.
”Although the NPL ratio is still low and under control, we don’t want the people’s take-home pay to be too low. So, our main focus is on credit cards and personal loans, and we have asked Bank Negara to look into this, how to tighten the application process for such loans,” he said.
On Budget 2014 to be tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Oct 25, Husni said the Government was in the process of conducting meetings with 15 focus groups.
”We will begin with fiscal sustainability and we hope to complete everything this month,” he said, adding that the Government would hold budget consultations in Sabah and Sarawak. He said the Government was prepared to receive suggestions for the budget from the public.
Budget 2014’s main aim was to lower the fiscal deficit from 4.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) last year to 4% this year and even lower next year, as well as to keep the debt-to-GDP ratio at below 55%.