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FILE PHOTO:The country's fiscal deficit is expected to reach 3.7 per cent this year, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR: The country's fiscal deficit is expected to reach 3.7 per cent this year, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Lim, who is tabling the 2019 Budget, said this was due to the previous government's prior spending commitments.

"The previous government did not prepare allocations to service 1MDB's RM1 billion debt, take over the RM1.3 billion EDL project in Johor, RM1 billion for Prasarana and the Transport Ministry's RM1.4 billion rail project, as well as RM3.9 billion for GST refunds," he said.

Lim added that government guarantees have increased from RM69.2 billion in 2008 to RM238 billion in 2017, a drastic surge of 244 per cent.

The Pakatan Harapan administration, Lim said, was committed to implementing a fiscal consolidation effort to reduce fiscal deficit to 3.4 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product in 2019, 3 per cent in 2020 and 2.8 per cent in 2021.

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