Mr. prime Minister, what IF our economy do not expand at 5%??? - 1Christians

The debt ceiling of 55 percent can be avoided if the country's economy can sustain a strong growth in gross domestic product (GDP), Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak told netizens during his hour-long Google Hangout session tonight.

azlan"If our economy expands at five percent, we are confident that the country's debt will not hit 55 percent (of GDP).

"The key for us to ensure our overall debt is reduced is to stimulate our economy. If we grow (our GDP) by five or six percent, then in terms of percentage (of debt) of GDP will be reduced," he said.

He added that the Budget 2013 had also trimmed the country's deficit by 0.5 percent to 4.0 percent.

Despite the move to reduce deficit, the opposition has criticised the government for failing to cut the official debt which has continued to rise to reach RM502.4 billion or 53.7 percent of GDP from 51.8 percent this year.

The "X factor" to maintain the country's strong economic growth, Najib said, was to inspire confidence among investors.

"When investors look at Malaysia, they compare us to other countries. If they like what they see, that we are peaceful, harmonious and have no violent street demonstrations, then they will be more confident of Malaysia and, as a nation, we benefit from that," he said.

'Hubbies, please share your BR1M'

Najib added that the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) of RM500 for households earning less than RM3,000 a month also helps to stimulate the economy through the recipients' spending of the money.

azlanTo a question on why housewives did not receive BR1M even though it had been expanded to cover youths making less than RM2,000 a month, but for an amount of RM250, Najib laughed and urged the “household heads” to share with their spouses.

"I would agree (that housewives should receive BR1M) but when we extend the BR1M, we are giving it to the whole family, it is on a household basis which includes housewives.

"Hopefully, the household heads would share with their wives," he said.

Asked about funding for youth organisations, Najib said on top of the regular funding, the government had also launched the iMalaysia For Youth (iM4U) programme to encourage volunteerism among youths.

"Aside from the funding to a few youth bodies, we have also launched the iM4U programme with its style that is very catchy - maybe not as catchy as ‘Gangnam style’ - but it has received good reception," he said.

The live video chat session tonight streamed through Youtube, dubbed "Tanya Najib" (Ask Najib), was a first for the premier.

The prime minister had a similar engagement in January but had featured no face-to-face interaction as it was only limited to interaction via Twitter.