PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia --Malaysia's household debt has declined as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and was at 84.6 per cent as of September 2017 from 88.4 per cent overall last year. This decline is also reflective of the economic upturn this year.

Communications and Multimedia Minister, Dr Salleh Said Keruak said the economic upturn was also seen as Malaysia having a healthy labour market with the minimum wage set to increase in 2018, alongside the low unemployment rate of 3.4 per cent as of October 2017.

"By the end of September 2017, the GDP growth at 5.9 per cent had outpaced the growth of debt at 4.9 per cent.

"This essentially means we have more disposable income to pay off our loans," he said in a statement to Bernama today.

Salleh said Malaysia's economic growth for 2017 was supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which had revised its forecast from 4.5 per cent to 4.8 per cent.

"This is expected to remain strong at a projected 5.2 per cent in 2018 by the World Bank," he added

He said the continued growth was not just statistics, but verified by international financial institutions and most global research firms.

"However, for the government, we are well aware of the need to assist, especially the lower income group and have undertaken a variety of policies.

"It includes the Klinik 1Malaysia for healthcare treatment at only RM1, targeted subsidies via Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) to help ease the burden of the cost of living, book assistance for school going children of the lower income group, abolishment of some tolls in urban areas, containing an increase in energy costs by maintaining the electricity tariff and a myriad of programmes to help micro-entrepreneurs, as well as free education for 12 years of schooling," he added.

Salleh said prudent policies had brought Malaysia to where it is today and its continuation was needed to continue Malaysia's economic trajectory.

"The future is certainly bright and will remain such, as long as we believe it to be so. We can get what we wish for," he added.