Finance minister confirms yen bonds to be issued next month

Azril Annuar

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng speaks at the precinct launch and development financing for The Exchange at TRX City in Kuala Lumpur February 12, 2019. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today confirmed the government will issue ¥200 billion (RM7.4 billion) in so-called Samurai bonds next month.

Speaking at the precinct launch and development financing for The Exchange at the TRX, Lim reiterated that Tokyo will back the bonds.

“I was told by many Japanese investors on their interest to come to Malaysia but they were hesitant before this because of the 1MDB affair.

“After seeing the willingness of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government in handling 1MDB, they have expressed their interest in coming back to Malaysia.

“This is in addition to the ¥200 billion Samurai bond guaranteed by the Japanese government that will be issued next month at a maximum coupon rate which will probably not exceed 0.65 per cent,” said Lim.

The minister said all the government’s fiscal reforms, which are part of a wider overhaul, should be complete in three years but has already boosted investor confidence and public trust in the Pakatan Harapan administration.

The reforms will return Malaysia to being an “Asian tiger”, Lim said when highlighting the government’s current war on corruption, particularly the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) global financial scandal.

“This is the best time to be in Malaysia. I encourage you to take the opportunity to be part of the Malaysian growth story before it is too late. TRX is just one of the opportunities that are available. Nevertheless, such opportunities will not be there forever.

“Why not invest now when prices are still right. If you wait until we recover in three years’ time, it will be too expensive for you. Let it not be said in three years’ time, ‘I told you so,’” Lim said candidly to promote the nation.

He also said that, under the PH administration, the TRX has been cleansed of the taint of 1MDB and turned into a world-class project.

The minister added that a review by his ministry revealed that the government could recover all its opportunity costs and investment sunk into the TRX.

“As a result, the government last year agreed to provide TRX City up to RM2.8 billion additional funding to allow the company to complete the overall project, particularly for the completion of the world-class infrastructure at TRX.

“Rest assured that the TRX is detoxified. Yes, now it’s clear and it’s moving forward as a world-class international global project,” said Lim.

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