Hamzah gives Anwar a taste of his own medicine, urges PMX to sack Finance Minister to arrest ringgit slide

TAKING a cue from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s (PMX) own rationale when he was the opposition leader, current counterpart Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin has insinuated that the former should “fire himself” for having failed to manage a host of national economic woes, particularly the steep fall of the ringgit against the greenback.

Applying Anwar’s own logic, the Larut MP recalled that PMX who is also the Finance Minister was very vocal against past finance ministers when the ringgit declined, thus must apply similar standards to himself.

“Given that Tambun (Anwar) had scolded the then finance minister (Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz) over the ringgit drop on Oct 4, 2022 as the opposition leader, now as PM he should do likewise to the current Finance Minister,” Hamzah pointed out while debating Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s royal address in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday (Feb 27).

“He (Anwar) should sack the (current) Finance Minister (Anwar himself) whose performance of is worse than the previous finance minister.”

To re-cap, Anwar had on Oct 4, 2022 ticked off Tengku Zafrul who coincidentally still sits in the unity government Cabinet as the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) for his lack of concern over the ringgit’s decline which was causing food prices to go up.

At the time, the ringgit was around RM4.64/US$ compared to last Tuesday when the local currency dipped to around RM4.80/US$ – the lowest level since the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis (AFC) when it hit RM4.885/US$.

In his defence, Anwar has recently contended that unlike in 1998, investor confidence in Malaysia remained high while inflation and unemployment were in decline.

He has also said other regional currencies were also sliding while Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) further justified that the ringgit was being undervalued.

Besides Anwar’s remarks on Oct 4, 2022, Hamzah also read out several other quotes attributed to the Anwar who had previously criticised others over the ringgit’s performance.

This included one remark reportedly from Nov 15, 2022 during the 15th General Election (GE15) campaign in which Anwar purportedly said: “Muhyiddin (Yassin as premier), ringgit fell. Ismail Sabri (Yaakob as premier), the ringgit fell. Muhyiddin, prices went up, Ismail Sabri prices went up. That is why we must change, let Anwar bring prices down”.

The Bersatu secretary-general also chided Anwar for saying over the weekend (Feb 24) that the ringgit decline should not be turned into a political punching bag.

“When it hits him instead, he taichi (deflects) all the way,” noted Hamzah when by right, Anwar as premier and Finance Minister should take the bull by the horns and be wholesomely responsible for the ringgit’s performance. – Feb 28, 2024

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