‘Current situation not like Asian financial crisis’

KUALA LUMPUR: The weakening of the ringgit is not a true reflection of the state of the national economy and other macroeconomic conditions, says the Prime Minister.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the current situation must be looked at comprehensively and based on the big picture, including the country’s capacity to grow and the reassuring investment figures.

He said the national economy was in a much better position compared with during the Asian financial crisis in 1998.

“Why should we look only in terms of the ringgit and compare it with 1998? In 1998, the ringgit fell, investments fell, inflation rose.

“It is concerning but is not the same now. The latest (investment) figures announced by the National Investment Council meeting are the highest recorded.

“Inflation continues to go down, unemployment is down, and growth is sustained compared with our neighbours. What is more important to me is the reassuring investment figures,” he told reporters after opening Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) as Malaysia’s international financial hub here yesterday.

Poised for growth: Anwar posing for pictures outside TRX in Kuala Lumpur. — BernamaPoised for growth: Anwar posing for pictures outside TRX in Kuala Lumpur. — Bernama

TRX holds a unique position, enjoying a special status conferred by the government. This special status comes with a range of incentives designed to attract companies to establish their base within its premises, said the Prime Minister.

On Thursday, it was announced that Malaysia recorded total approved investments worth RM329.6bil in 2023, the highest ever in the country’s history.

On Jan 24, Bank Negara said the recent ringgit movements were primarily driven by external factors and were not reflective of the current domestic economic performance and prospects.

Anwar, who is also Finance Minister, said it was more important to focus on measures to be taken to address challenges, adding that the central bank had been told to monitor the ringgit closely.

“We will continue to monitor the situation every day, including the cost of living and impact on people’s livelihood,” he said.

On the recent resignations of the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) top management, he said the issue would be handled by the Defence Minister.

On Monday, another member of the LTAT leadership resigned, the third over the past month from the body which manages the pension fund for some 120,000 serving members of the armed forces.

Meanwhile, Anwar announced that Malaysia had agreed to increase financial aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) following the action of several big countries to stop contributing.

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