'Credit where credit is due', says Hassan Karim in defending Anwar over weak ringgit

PASIR GUDANG: After urging Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to explain the weakening of the ringgit, a PKR representative here is now defending him over the same issue.

Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Karim said he has no qualms criticising Anwar and his administration but will still give credit when it is due.

“I am not afraid to criticise Anwar and the government if there is a need to do so, but I will also give credit where credit is due.

“I have no personal interest in putting him down, nor am I an MP from the Opposition.

“Recently, I have made a statement urging the Prime Minister to explain the fall of the ringgit in the upcoming Parliament sitting and on ways the government plans to address it, which I think he should still do.

“However, we need to be fair to him. During the Asian financial crisis in 1998, the ringgit fell to about the same level as it is now, but the overnight policy rate (OPR) was at 10%, and inflation was at 5.3%, in comparison to the 3% OPR and 1.5% inflation rate currently. So, there is a significant difference,” he said.

He said that scandals such as the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), Jana Wibawa and Spanco were the main culprits that had affected investors’ confidence towards Malaysia.

“It is not that the outside world does not trust Anwar, but our economic system has been corrupted by these cases,” he said, adding that the ringgit had been falling since previous administrations.

Hassan added that the unemployment rate had gone down during Anwar’s time while the total approved investment recorded last year was also higher compared to during the past two Prime Ministers’ time.

“During Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s time, the unemployment rate was at 4.8%, then it went down to 3.8% during Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s time, and now, it is at 3.4%.

“Meanwhile, in terms of investments, we received some RM193.7bil worth of investments when Muhyiddin was the Prime Minister.

“The number went up to RM264.6bil during Ismail Sabri’s administration, and now at RM329.5bil,” he said.

Earlier, Anwar said that the weakening of the ringgit cannot be compared to the 1998 Asian financial crisis situation.

He said the current situation must be looked at comprehensively and based on an overall picture, including the country’s capacity to grow and the reassuring investment figures.

On Wednesday (Feb 21), Hassan reportedly said Anwar must use the Parliament as a platform to explain the worsening of the ringgit, which has caused concerns among the people.