Mustapa out of touch with economic reality, says DAP

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PETALING JAYA: DAP’s Charles Santiago says International Trade and Industry (Miti) Minister Mustapa Mohamad is out of touch with reality over what’s happening in the country in terms of the economy.

Responding to a Bernama report which quoted the Miti minister as saying that Malaysia’s economy was improving, the Klang MP said the people are having to face the reality of what could be called an impending “downturn” in the country’s economy.

In the report, Mustapa had claimed that the country recorded a 23% trade growth in the first quarter of this year, saying there was no basis to say the country’s economy would “crash” in September.

“Maybe ‘crash’ is a strong word to use, but current events suggest that an economic downturn was likely,” Santiago told FMT, adding these statistics were not necessarily representative of the current conditions in the country.

“Statistics cloud reality. On the ground, companies are complaining of loss of business, people are not getting jobs that pay to support families, household debt is high, and the cost of living is extremely high, including the cost of medicine.”

He added that the current economic conditions were also impacting employment rates as businesses cut down on capital expenditure at the back of a lack of demand.

“Recent events, including the IPIC tribunal decision have created dark clouds on confidence levels.

“Also, the drop in international oil prices to US$46 will impact revenue of the economy,” Santiago said, adding there will surely be an impact as a result.

He also believes that the people will have to bear the burden of such an economic downturn with the government being forced to cut down on subsidies, among other things.