PM: Ringgit's performance not comparable to 1998 crisis [NSTTV]

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today said that while the ringgit's performance is concerning, however, the situation cannot be compared with that of 1998.

Speaking to reporters today, Anwar said back then (in 1998) the ringgit was down, the inflation and unemployment rates were up and there were no investments.

"However, at present you see the investment is the biggest ever in the country, the inflation continues (to go down) and unemployment rate (also) down and (the economic) growth… we can sustain as compared to our neighbours.

"So, we must look at the comprehensive view and the capacity for the country's growth. (And) what is most important to me is the investment figures.

"This situation (on ringgit), the government is currently looking at addressing the matter. We're looking at it and luckily it's strengthened (the ringgit) a little," he said after the launch of Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) as Malaysia's International Financial Centre today.

Present was Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan, Finance Ministry secretary-general Datuk Johan Mahmood Merican and TRX City Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Azmar Talib.

Anwar said the Central Bank is currently looking into the matter and the government will be monitoring it.

"As you know, it is the expertise of the Central Bank and it's affecting all countries, right?

"What's important to us is to focus on what we can do, what we should do and we're doing it daily."

Meanwhile, on criticisms levelled against him for not responding to the weak ringgit's performance recently, Anwar said "My response back then was for the Investment, Trade and Industry Minister (Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz) to issue a major statement on investment and trade.

"While the Bank Negara Malaysia governor (Datuk Shaik Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour) would state the ringgit's performance.

"And I was criticised for saying that when the governor told me that he's coming out with a full statement.

"Hence, I said leave it to him (to explain the matter)."

On Feb 20, Anwar in a brief reply to the media said any questions on the ringgit's performance will be addressed by the Bank Negara Malaysia governor.

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