Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that the continued depreciation of the ringgit was happening at a slower rate than other countries, some of which were “depreciating like mad”.
“The ringgit strengthened today. The fact is that all currencies are now depreciating like mad. It’s not only Malaysia, others are depreciating at much faster rate than us,” said Mahathir, adding that countries such as Argentina had its currency depreciated by more than 50 percent.
Mahathir attributed the depreciation of currencies in many countries to the current trade war between China and the US, along with all-round poor global economic performance.
He also believed that the ringgit was currently under-valued, but did not elaborate.
The value of the ringgit has come under the spotlight again recently after former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak expressed concern over the depreciation of the ringgit despite higher oil prices.
Najib said that when he was in power, the value of the ringgit to climb every time crude oil prices go up, but this trend was not happening now.
“My concern is that if the global oil price drops dramatically, then the ringgit will be hit hard,” he said in his Facebook posting.
Yesterday, the Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said that the ringgit’s performance against the US dollar is among the best vis-a-vis the world’s major currencies despite the recent transfer of power and weak external factors.
He pointed out that since end-2017, the ringgit’s value versus the greenback had only slid 2.2 percent as of Sept 11.
However, Najib in his Facebook posting lambasted Lim on the dates that he mentioned in his statement.
“Guan Eng has mistaken his dates. The government change was not at the end of 2017 but on May 9, 2018,” Najib said.