In Tough Times, Malaysia Turns to Crowdfunding to Pay Off National Debt

When economic times get tough, the government of Malaysia turned to its citizens to get going toward erasing the country’s staggering national debt.

Malaysian officials said they were “humbled” by the response to a crowdfunding campaign they launched, to get the nation’s $250 million debt under control. Almost $2 million had been raised to fund the state within the first 24 hours of the campaign.

The finance ministry asked all willing Malaysians to donate to the cause, hoping to ride a wave of patriotism that led to the peaceful transition of power and the election of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, the former opposition alliance leader who unexpectedly won his bid for office last month.

The crowdfunding plan was coined after a Malaysian woman who voluntarily raised about $3,500 to be put toward the nation’s debt and ensure that the government maintained a level of transparency. The Southeast Asian nation had been racked by scandal under former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has been accused of stealing hundred of millions of dollars in state funds.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of the free crowdfunding website YouHelp.com, said entrepreneurs typically use crowdfunding as an inexpensive means to finance fledgling ideas for products and services. Crowdfunding can also help promote a brand to create an enthusiastic base of initial customers. And, as an extension of economic development, local governments can create crowdfuding campaigns that have the potential to transform the way in which citizens work together toward a common goal. As for financing nations, this crowdfunding effort may be a first.

Although, in 2015, a San Francisco real estate mogul did launch a crowdfunding campaign in an effort to create a new country for refuges to live. Jason Buzi wanted to raise $3 billion to solve the global crisis by purchasing land for “the intent of creating cities, chartering territories, and establishing a new nation that would accept any and all refugees.”

Malaysia, on the other hand, appears content to crowdfund as a solution to internal problems. In a statement, the Finance Ministry said, "Truly, Malaysians have taken their patriotism to a greater height, willing to part with their allowances and spare cash to help rebuild this nation we all love."

Malaysia’s national debt amounts to about 80 percent of the country’s gross national product.

YouHelp.com offers the best in crowdfunding capabilities to forward-thinking organizations and individuals who want to connect their campaigns to the public. The process is simple: create a profile, a fundraising goal, and compelling message that prospects will find worthwhile — and launch. If the idea is deserving, people will pledge their support.

About the Author: Staff Writer for YouHelp

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