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Dr M questions PM's approach in managing the weakening ringgit

Publish date: Thu, 08 Jun 2023, 12:23 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is questioning Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the current administration's approaches to manage the weakening of the ringgit.

In a posting on Twitter, Dr Mahathir said what had been done so far had yet to boost any confidence among the business community and parents, instead they had expressed their concerns.

"Many people came to see me expressing concern over the ringgit's continued decline against the US dollar.

"The government needs to do something because it is causing anxiety among traders and also parents whose children are studying abroad," he said.

He also raised the issue whether Anwar's move to raise the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) in a bid to strengthen the ringgit was a viable approach in helping the people.

"Before becoming the prime minister, Anwar was angry with Tengku Zafrul (Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz), the Finance Minister at the time and insinuated whether he was working for the bank or the people when raising the OPR.

"So, is Datuk Seri Anwar working for the bank or the people now?

"The way the government is handling the weakening ringgit, the answers and views given by Datuk Seri Anwar related to it before and after becoming the prime minister has failed to boost confidence."

Dr Mahathir said now the prime minister had called on the opposition in parliament to support the government's move to raise the OPR because it helps strengthen the ringgit.

The increase in the OPR, however, had burdened the people to service their loans.

The former Langkawi member of parliament also said that Anwar's statement that the Singapore dollar strengthened after the republic raised the OPR was not an apple to apple comparison.

"Some parties have disputed Datuk Seri Anwar's statement because the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has not had an OPR policy since the 1980s.

"As far as I remember Singapore does not have OPR. It has SORA - Singapore Overnight Rate Average. Singapore's SORA and Malaysia's OPR approaches are different.

"I researched, including through ChatGPT which is the trend nowadays, and the result was not an apple to apple comparison."

Dr Mahathir also left it to the members of parliament to decide whether Anwar's answers could be considered deceptive or confusing.

On May 3, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) announced, in a surprise move, to increase the OPR rate to 25 basis points to three per cent of which the ceiling and floor rates of the corridor were increased to 3.25 and 2.75 per cent respectively.

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