Finance ministry calls for "Malaysia First" approach to strengthen ringgit

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has urged all parties to adopt a whole of nation approach to help strengthen the value of the ringgit. The Finance Ministry said Malaysians are encouraged to adopt a Malaysia First attitude in their daily practices.

"This includes purchasing domestic goods and investing in the domestic capital market.

"A campaign to promote domestic tourism also needs to be introduced and enhanced," the ministry said in a written parliamentary.

The ministry said this in response to a question from Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Muhyiddin asked about the government's detailed measures in dealing with the decline and instability of the ringgit value which plunged to the lowest level in 26 years, reaching 4.748 against the greenback, as well as the lowest daily level of 3.534 against the Singapore Dollar as of Feb 5.

The ministry added that the government is committed to strengthening the ringgit's position. "Various drastic measures are being taken by the government and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to deal with the slide in the value of the ringgit.

"These include ensuring the foreign exchange market in the country (is) in an orderly manner. BNM will take necessary measures including intervention to curb excessive currency movements.

"To monitor the conversion of export revenue into ringgit by exporting companies, in addition to continuing efforts in encouraging the use of local currency for export to reduce dependence on the movement of the dollar."

It said the government also takes an integrated and coordinated action to bring in the flow of funds to the foreign exchange market. "In particular, strengthen joint efforts with government-linked investment companies (GLICs) and government-linked companies (GLCs) to repatriate income from foreign investments, subsequently converting the income into ringgit more consistently.

"The government also is controlling foreign investment by private companies including encouraging them to prioritise domestic investment, as well as delaying new overseas investment.

"Foreign investments also need to be managed prudently, such as protecting against foreign currency exposure and bringing back the profits to reduce pressure on the ringgit."

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