Anwar takes swipe at Zafrul for looking after banks, not people

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PKR president Anwar Ibrahim has taken a swipe at Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz over his actions which he said do not resemble that of a “responsible” finance minister.

“We have been through a major economic crisis (in 1997). The attack in Thailand on the baht had collapsed the Thai economy, and then it continued to rupiah and collapsed the Indonesian economy, then the Korean won and we got a terrible splash back.

“What did we do? We held meetings to discuss the steps (taken to resolve the crisis) every day and the people are informed about the steps taken.


“Today, as I mentioned, the ringgit is collapsing in a situation where the Asian economy is not collapsing. We collapsed first and there is no information.”

Anwar said while taking the stage at the party’s first “Rapat Mega Keadilan” rally in Taman Melawati yesterday – which took place from 5pm to midnight, kicking off a series of mega rallies across the country.

The party president criticised Zafrul for his lack of credible answers as a finance minister, defending the banks as opposed to the rakyat.

“In Parliament, I am lazy to ask Zafrul a lot of questions because I don’t think his answers are of those that should be given by any responsible finance minister.

“His answers defend the bank, not defending the people below. Yet, there are still people who exclaim Yang Berhormat! Yang Berhormat!” added Anwar, enacting someone sycophantically rushing over to kiss the finance minister’s hand.

“Disgusting to watch. That’s what I call bangang (stupid). When I say bangang, people say it is kasar (rude). How is it kasar?

“You take the rakyat’s money, you steal 1MDB of the rakyat’s money. Just mention an issue: Mara – stolen, Felda – stolen, even the cows are stolen,” said Anwar.

The Malaysian ringgit continues to slide against the US dollar, passing the psychological RM4.50 mark on Sept 6.

This was the first time the RM4.50 level was breached since January 1998, months after the onset of the Asian Financial Crisis.

The ringgit has lost nine percent of its value when compared to the US dollar over a year.

The silence of the prime minister and Zafrul on the issue has been criticised by members of the opposition.

Touching on the current state of the economy, PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli had, earlier in the night, pointed out that as the central bank increases its interest rates due to the loss of investors, the rakyat are at a losing end.

“Regular members of the rakyat, like yourselves, despite not changing your ringgit to dollars and not having savings abroad, will become victims (in this crisis) in two ways,” he said, citing having to pay higher interest rates and higher cost of living.

“If we have five kids, a car loan to pay, petrol to buy, a house loan to pay, as long as we live in debt, an additional sum like RM60 every month can trigger a shift going from credit card debt to being in debt with the likes of Ah Long (illegal loan sharks),” he added.

That is the difference when the exchange rate continues to depreciate, stressed Rafizi.

He quipped that it was hard to be upset at a face like Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s.

“Being angry at Ismail Sabri… Umno is upset, PAS is upset with him, and we are also upset at him, but that’s the issue.

“We are faced with a situation where the rakyat have to bear the failures of the nation’s affairs. Not only the failures but also the room to act is getting smaller and smaller,” said Rafizi.

He said this in reference to the country’s thinning fiscal space.

“I mention all of this so the rakyat know that as we enter the elections, even though Najib, Rosmah are already (sentenced) in jail, Zahid…up to him, whether he goes in or not… Ismail Sabri, even though his face is pitiful, we must remember that we want to change the government, not because we want Anwar to become PM or because we want to give our own people positions in power.

“We want to change the government because of this damage, if we don’t fix it now, we will be inheriting the problem, which will become bigger and bigger in five to six years,” said Rafizi.