Weak ringgit a 28-year-old problem, says expert

PETALING JAYA: The ringgit’s poor performance can be attributed to a lack of competitiveness in Malaysia over the past 28 years, says a World Bank economist.

Apurva Sanghi said this was partly a consequence of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) financial scandal.

“Weak ringgit is ultimately a symptom of long-term decline in Malaysia’s competitiveness,” Apurva said on X.

The economist said while many Asian countries also slid following the 1998 financial crisis, Malaysia’s lack of reforms had affected its economy in the long run.

He added that Malaysia opted for short-term solutions to boost the ringgit in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis.

Apurva said it consequently hurt the currency in the long run, adding that the government’s measures resulted in its GDP and exports falling.

He said the Thai baht and South Korean won outperformed the ringgit as both countries arguably reformed the most after the financial crisis.

Separately, Perikatan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government should own up to its own failures instead of pointing fingers at others.

Muhyiddin said it is unreasonable for the government to blame the Opposition for the fall of the ringgit when they are the ones in power.

“They are the government of the day and have the responsibility, role and power to manage the country,” he said during his Pagoh constituency Chinese New Year celebration at a temple in Bukit Pasir yesterday.

The Pagoh MP was responding to former Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak, who said the Opposition’s constant claims about trying to topple the government mean they should shoulder some of the blame for the weak ringgit.

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