PETALING JAYA: Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Karim wants Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and economy minister Rafizi Ramli to explain the latest interest rate hike by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).
The outspoken PKR MP said the central bank’s move was not in line with the government’s push to boost the economy and address the high cost of living.
Hassan also said both PKR president Anwar and his deputy Rafizi would agree that the B40 and M40 income groups would be the most affected by the increase in the overnight policy rate (OPR) to 3%.
“The B40 and M40 income groups make up 80% of Malaysians, and they are facing financial and economic difficulties now,” he said.
“I hope that Rafizi and Anwar, who is also the finance minister, will explain this OPR (the inter-bank lending rate) increase to the people.
“I don’t want people in the six states, which will soon have elections, to hammer the government with questions about the OPR increase.”
His criticism comes as Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin yesterday questioned whether Anwar, being the finance minister, is a “minister for the bank owners or for the rakyat?”.
The GPS MP’s post was attached to a news report of Anwar criticising his predecessor Tengku Zafrul Aziz for an increase in the OPR in 2022, where Anwar had posed the same question to Zafrul while campaigning in the 15th general election (GE15) last November.
On Wednesday, BNM increased the OPR by 25 basis points to 3%, which caused concerns that Malaysians would have to pay more to service their bank loans.
The central bank had increased the OPR five times since May last year, totalling 125bps or 1.25%, after it had been maintained at an all-time low of 1.75% since July 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic.