PETALING JAYA: An Umno leader today accused Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng of trying to deceive the people on the performance of the ringgit under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
In a statement, Umno Youth vice-chief Shahril Hamdan acknowledged Lim’s remark yesterday that the ringgit was among the strongest currencies in the world as it had only decreased in value by 2.2% since January.
“But who was the government between January and May 2018?” he asked.
Lim had made the statement in response to former prime minister Najib Razak’s remarks on the ringgit’s deteriorating value against the greenback.
Citing the ringgit’s performance since the end of last year, Lim said it was outperforming the Australian dollar, Indonesian rupiah, Chinese yuan, South Korean won and Singapore dollar against the US dollar.
But Shahril accused Lim of trying to muddy the waters so that the people did not see PH’s failure to strengthen the country’s financial position.
“Lim should take into account the value of the ringgit since PH took over. It stood at RM3.95 to the dollar on May 8, a day before PH won the election, and not RM4.03 to the dollar as it was in January.”
He said this showed that the ringgit had fallen 4.7% to today’s rate of RM4.14 to the dollar.
“This downward trend is very obvious where the ringgit went from RM4.03 to the dollar in January to RM3.95 to the dollar a day before the GE14,” he added.
He also claimed the PH government had been forced to liquidate international reserves to the tune of US$5 billion to prevent the ringgit from deteriorating.
By comparison, Shahril said, between January and April this year, the previous administration oversaw the increase in the ringgit’s value and boosted Malaysia’s international reserves by US$6 billion.
“But due to PH’s failure to manage our country’s finances well, US$5 billion was needed to cover its weaknesses.”
He also criticised Lim’s response to Najib, saying it did not reflect the standard of a finance minister.
“The finance minister should accept criticism and think of ways to strengthen the ringgit.
“But looking at the U-turns and flip-flops by this government, as well as the minister’s arrogant attitude, I fear the ringgit will continue to deteriorate as predicted by international economic experts.”