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Govt lacks economic direction as PM 'busy with new partners', says Azmin

The former international trade and industry minister cites the last hike in OPR as well as the drop in stock market and ringgit value.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
2 minute read
Former international trade and industry minister Mohamed Azmin Ali speaks in an interview in Bangsar.
Former international trade and industry minister Mohamed Azmin Ali speaks in an interview in Bangsar.

Former international trade and industry minister Mohamed Azmin Ali has criticised the government's handling of the economy, saying it appears to lack a clear direction amid increasing challenges on the local front.  

He also said that many among the low- and middle-income groups were becoming increasingly frustrated with the situation. 

"When the overnight policy rate was raised on May 3, the cost of loan repayments rose as well. 

"Foreign investors also appear to be lacking in confidence because there is no comprehensive economic policy," he said in an interview with MalaysiaNow. 

Foreign investors were recently reported to have sold RM4.19 billion worth of shares on Bursa Malaysia in the first six months of the year.

On July 5, meanwhile, Bursa Malaysia closed at 1,389.90 points, down 2.59 points.

Azmin also criticised a recent statement by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in the Dewan Rakyat that he would be willing to "flip-flop" on policy U-turns if this would benefit the people. 

Azmin, the former PKR deputy president, said this was a serious statement. 

"When the government admits that it is an administration that flip-flops, foreign investors worry that their investments will be affected," he said. 

"And if the foreign investors leave, job opportunities for the youth will also suffer." 

He likewise criticised Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli over the drop in stock exchange and ringgit value, saying the currency slump was making Malaysia increasingly uncompetitive. 

"Among the major components of the country's imports are 'intermediate goods'. Some of these are quality raw materials that are not available in the country. We will install and add value before re-exporting.

"So when these goods become more expensive, we will not be able to import," he said.

Azmin said that Anwar, as the prime minister, should be responsible for looking after foreign and local investors. 

"He should not give negative impressions," he said, referring to Anwar's recent comment on attempts by a "rich gang" to topple his government. 

"If he is really being threatened by the rich, he should give proof of this to the authorities." 

Adding that Anwar should step down if he is rejected by both the rich and the poor, Azmin said the prime minister appeared "too busy these days taking care of his new partners in the coalition government". 

"He has to balance between Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and DAP," he said. 

"He has lost focus and cannot concentrate on matters related to the economy, international relations, and the needs of the people." 

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