Take responsibility over ringgit slide, Hamzah tells PM [NSTTV]

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition leader Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin has told Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to take responsibility as finance minister for the ringgit's poor performance, which is at its lowest since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

Hamzah, during the royal debate in the Dewan Rakyat today, also accused Anwar of failing to keep the promise he made during his opposition days to resolve the country's economic issues.

"The prime minister previously said not to use the weakening ringgit as political ammo. What is happening now? Now that it is his turn, he deflects the subject.

"I would like to remind him to own up to his role as the prime minister and finance minister by taking the bull by the horns and being responsible (for the declining ringgit)," said the Larut member of parliament.

Hamzah, at the same time, also questioned the government's contingency plan for the ringgit. A contingency plan, he said, was important as the ringgit's declining value is affecting the country and the well-being of its people.

"Why hasn't a special committee been established to announce a contingency plan to find a way out (from this issue) and save the country?

"The communications minister (Fahmi Fadzil) had also mentioned said that the cabinet did not discuss the ringgit issue. Are such issues not important for the government?

"When the ringgit declined in the past, although not as bad as now, we heard Tambun (Anwar) loudly championing the issue and had, on various occasions, blamed the government, particularly the finance minister.

"As a prime minister, he should also blame the finance minister now and fire him as the performance is worse than the previous minister."

Yesterday, Anwar said the ringgit's fall to its 26-year-low was concerning but a comprehensive view of the situation must be taken into account.

Anwar had said that investments were high and inflation and unemployment were down, and Malaysia's growth could be sustained compared to its neighbours.

Bank Negara Malaysia governor Datuk Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour earlier today said the ringgit was undervalued.

He added that given Malaysia's positive economic fundamentals and prospects, the ringgit ought to be traded higher.

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