DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng has slammed Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa over the latter’s “shocking remark” that the Government views the current decline of the ringgit against the US dollar as “only temporary”.
Annuar had made the remarks yesterday (Sept 19), adding that currency drops were a global issue and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM)’s monetary policy committee was on the ball.
In a statement today, Lim said Annuar is both “wrong and dishonest” as the value of the ringgit has been declining against the US dollar for some time now.
The former finance minister pointed out that the ringgit has weakened by almost 9% this year from RM4.17 at the end of 2021 to the current 24-year low of RM4.54.
“Will Annuar not listen to how much more Malaysians have to pay for the price of a declining ringgit over the past year in the form of higher costs of imports?” Lim asked.
“These additional costs are definitely not temporary in nature and cannot be recouped.”
Coupled with Annuar’s “failure” as Special Jihad Taskforce Against Inflation, Lim said Malaysians are now paying higher interest costs as well.
After Annuar became chairman of the task force, inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose from 3.4% in June to 4.4% in July, while food inflation rose by 6.1% in June to 6.9% in July, he noted.
“Such failures to stem inflation led BNM to increase the overnight policy rate by 25 basis points to 2.5% this month,” Lim added.
“Ringgit decline not just against US dollar”
The Bagan MP said that Annuar was also wrong to imply that the decline in the value of the ringgit is principally against the US dollar.
He noted that the ringgit recently dipped to a historic low of RM3.26 against the Singapore dollar while the Indonesian rupiah has appreciated by more than 4% this year against the ringgit.
“Annuar’s ignorance and ostrich-in-the-sand approach about the decline in the value of our ringgit as temporary shows that he does not know what he is doing,” Lim claimed.
“This level of incompetence is prevalent among the Cabinet and has only compounded the hardship of the rakyat and businesses demanding for the leadership to help them deal with soaring prices, stagnant wages, severe labour shortages and poor governance,” he added.
Meanwhile, Lim trained his guns at UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who he said lives in an “alternate false reality that is delusional and disconnected from the real lives of Malaysians by putting their own selfish political interests ahead of the rakyat.”
This after Zahid on Saturday (Sept 17) demanded early general elections this year – even if held during the monsoon season and in the midst of massive floods – saying Barisan Nasional (BN) was prepared to “wade through the floods” to campaign.
“Clearly for UMNO, holding and winning elections is more important than saving property and people’s lives affected by floods,” Lim noted.
“This is not only irresponsible, selfish and cruel, but a betrayal of the people’s trust to put their interests, safety and lives first ahead of political interests.” – Sept 19, 2022
Main pic credit: The Straits Times