by AFIQ HANIF / pic BERNAMA
PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the performance of the ringgit, particularly in comparison to the US dollar or any other currency, should not be regarded as a sole measure of the country’s economic standing.
Anwar highlighted that Malaysia’s economic growth rate in 2022 had exceeded pre-pandemic levels, signifying a robust recovery from the global crisis.
“Moreover, we projected a strong growth rate of 4% to 5% for 2023, in line with the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) projection of 4.5%.
“Furthermore, Malaysia achieved an impressive 5.6% GDP growth in the first quarter of 2023, outperforming regional counterparts such as Indonesia, China, and Vietnam,” he said during the Prime Minister Q&A session in Dewan Rakyat today.
Anwar attributed this positive outlook to the continual drive of domestic demand, supported by a recovering labour market and the implementation of long-term investment projects.
He said Malaysia’s diverse export markets and product segments have played a crucial role in bolstering the resilience of the external sector.
“I’m confident in the government’s economic management by renowned credit rating agencies Fitch and Moody’s. Both agencies maintained Malaysia’s credit rating in February and April 2023, respectively,” Anwar said.
Additionally, the PM referenced the IMF’s Article IV assessment in June 2023 acknowledged Malaysia’s post-Covid recovery, attributing it to the country’s strong macroeconomic policy framework, prudent fiscal commitments, and a trusted monetary policy, which have all contributed to Malaysia’s resilience in the face of economic challenges.
He also called on the Opposition parties to accept his government’s decision to raise the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) as it will help strengthen the Malaysian currency.
He said the Singapore dollar became stronger after the republic raised its OPR.
“OPR, as we know since Barisan Nasional and Perikatan Nasional, has been decided by Bank Negara Malaysia. That is a law fixed by previous MPs.
“Except now, in the Unity Government it has been raised once,” he said.
In comparison, Anwar added the OPR went up four times under the previous government.
“So, for now, I have urged BNM to not only monitor monetary issues but also the overall fiscal strength.
“We have to accept the OPR hike. As what was done in Singapore, it helped strengthen the currency,” he said.