KUALA LUMPUR: The fluctuation in ringgit value is nothing to worry about, because it will be addressed by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), says International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking.
“I think the fluctuation of the currency is something that we are not to concerned with yet.
"There are countries that are also facing the same problems, and I think BNM will have their strategies in overcoming that,” he said.
Leiking was speaking to The Star and several news outlets in an interview on Thursday (April 18) at the International Trade and Industry Ministry.
Last Tuesday (April 18), it was reported that the ringgit weakened as much as 0.54% against the US dollar to RM4.1285, the lowest since Jan 25.
Leiking said the weakening ringgit isn’t a matter of concern for everyone, because certain quarters would prefer a drop in currency value due to their respective interests.
“It’s always interesting to see how we complain about the weakening ringgit, and at the same time, some people feel that when the ringgit is a little bit down… it creates opportunities for them.
“I don’t know why some people feel that way. But, to me, if I travel a lot, I worry as well because if my ringgit is lower, it means higher exchanges rates.”
However, Leiking said that it was vital for the government to identify which sectors of local imports have seen a decrease.
“If it’s because of the weakening ringgit, I’m very certain they (businesses) deferred their contracts and orders simply because right now it’s (ringgit) very expensive.
“But when the time comes for the ringgit to stabilise, they will make their orders again,” he said.
Last February, it was reported that imports dropped by 9.4% to RM55.5bil, which is the lowest since May 2016.
Previously, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Ong Kian Ming said the figures in February indicated a year-on-year slowdown.
He noted that Chinese New Year this year fell on a Tuesday and Wednesday, as compared to Friday and Saturday last year. He added that many factories had closed down for a week, which caused reduced productivity.
Asked to comment on the matter, Leiking reiterated Ong’s remarks and expressed optimism that imports are set to recover by the second quarter of the year.
“February was Chinese New Year, and a lot of importers are not ordering at that time because they made early orders and stocks.
“So, I was briefed by my officers that this pattern is normal and you will see in the next few months, maybe by June, it (imports) will increase again.”