Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng has taken Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s administration to task over the national currency’s plunging levels, which hit a 24-year low last week.
“On Wednesday, our ringgit hit rock bottom compared to the US dollar, since the Asian financial crisis in 1998.
“Why have both the prime minister and Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz gone silent altogether?
“This is a question that everyone on the street is asking the undemocratic ‘backdoor’ government led by Ismail Sabri,” Lim said in a statement.
The ringgit has continued to slide against the US dollar, passing the psychological RM4.50 mark for the first time since January 1998, months after the onset of the Asian Financial Crisis.
Lim said that the two unelected leaders were both silent and lost for plans to combat the slide.
“The ringgit is at the lowest point for the first time in 24 years, and if this is not an economic crisis, then what is?
“Many are appalled with the lack of initiatives by Ismail to help them during the economic downturn,” he added.
He called for the government to admit its failings and that the country was embroiled in battling a recession instead of putting up a front for electoral purposes.
“After the staggering drop in the exchange rate, the nation cannot afford to be lied to anymore. It is time for the government to be upfront and tell us if we are now in a recession.
“They must also tell the nation how to ride out of the economic storm rather than let our country still run on ‘auto pilot’ mode,” Lim added.
The DAP lawmaker said that the unfavourable exchange rate would surely raise the prices of imported goods; hence, inflation would increase steeply.
“This will affect both middle-income and lower-income groups. Efforts must therefore be made proactively to improve the national food security in order for us not to over-depend on imported foodstuff.
“Will the people, who now have to pay for higher prices of imported foodstuff, also suffer from the recent increase in the base lending rate?” Lim asked.
The third-term MP pointed out that since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, many people in the M40 category have experienced falling standards of living.
“There is a danger that, if nothing concrete is done, the economic crisis may escalate to a worse situation.
“Efforts should be made right now to improve the economy instead of going for another general election,” Lim said. – Malaysiakini