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PUTRAJAYA, Sept 8 -- The Finance Ministry (MoF) is ready to act if the second Samurai bond issuance is continued.

In a statement today, the ministry said it was awaiting further instructions from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in relation to his statement on its issuance.

It also said the Prime Minister was taking into consideration the views of various parties although the interest rate of the second Samurai bond was lower.

During his recent visit to Japan, Dr Mahathir told a media conference that Malaysia had received the agreement of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the issuance of the bond and it was up to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to continue negotiations.

The MoF had in June received instructions from the Prime Minister to initiate negotiations with the concerned parties after his visit to Japan in May, where he was offered the second of the Samurai bond series.

The Cabinet had also stated its agreement in principle, with further details to be scrutinised by the MoF, the statement said.

After discussions by the Finance Minister with those representing the Japanese government, particularly the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) which will guarantee the issuance of the Samurai bond, it agreed to reduce the interest rate to 0.5 per cent with a maturity period of 10 years.

The interest rate for the first Samurai bond of 200 billion yen was 0.63 per cent with also a maturity period of 10 years.

-- BERNAMA