When dollar goes up, ringgit will fall, Dr M tells Najib

PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said the falling value of the ringgit against the Thai baht was not an indicator of the country’s economy, following a statement by Najib Razak which hit out at the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government over the ringgit’s performance.

“The ringgit doesn’t just simply fall,” Mahathir said today. “The ringgit just went up again anyway.”

“What becomes a problem is the US dollar because what is happening with (US president Donald) Trump,” said the PH chairman after a meeting with the coalition’s leaders at the Perdana Leadership Foundation here.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Najib said that three years ago, when global oil prices dropped by 80%, PH had played up “propaganda” that Thai traders did not want to accept the ringgit any more.

He claimed the ringgit was recovering against the baht before the 14th general election.

“However, the value of the ringgit against the baht went down after GE14 until it reached the 100 baht to RM13 mark for the first time.

“This comes at a time when global oil prices have recovered and are now two-and-a-half times more than three years ago,” the former prime minister and finance minister said.

He was commenting on the ringgit reaching a record low against the baht at RM13.15 to 100 baht (RM1 to 7.60 baht).

On Najib’s social media presence

Asked if he thought Najib was making a “comeback” through his witty posts on Facebook and the MaluApaBossku campaign, the prime minister said this is because PH is allowing him to do so.

“One thing is sure. During his time, people who are arrested, before they are charged, they will have to wear baju kuning (lock-up attire) and sleep in dark rooms. But we allow him to go around and make speeches and all that.

“So, it shows that we are a fair government.

“We allowed him to pay bail and all that but during his time, (Sabah chief minister) Shafie Apdal was thrown into jail and (former Bersih 2.0 chairman) Maria Chin Abdullah (as well).

“We are not like that. We are not a dictatorship,” he said.

Mahathir also said Najib should have done all the things he is now asking PH ministers to do when the latter was in power.

On whether Najib is a “threat” to PH following his social media posts during the Cameron Highlands by-election which Barisan Nasional won, he said it was not the case.

“They won, but they lost a lot of votes.”

Mahathir also said that a unit tasked with countering accusations hurled at PH and to put on the record what has been done by PH since May 9 will be established.