AZMIN ALI

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Day: August 14, 2015

Change leadership to save Malaysia from disaster, says Selangor MB

Only a major change in the country’s leadership can stop the ringgit’s slide and prevent Malaysia from political and economic disaster, Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali said today.

The PKR deputy president also said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was “fooling” the public by blaming the ringgit’s loss in value to the US dollar on “political play”, instead of taking responsibility.

“The prime minister’s statement yesterday that ‘the existence of political play and intense speculation has resulted in an uncertain sentiment towards the administration’ is clearly aimed at pointing the blame on our ringgit fiasco on others but himself.

“Nothing short of major changes in leadership and the political equation can halt the slide as well as save us from the brink of national disaster,” Azmin said in a statement today.

The ringgit hit a low of 4.0725 to the US dollar this morning after crude oil prices fell below US$42 (RM171) a barrel, The Edge Markets had reported.

But it has also been Asia’s worst-performing currency, hitting a 17-year low of 4.1180 last Friday, made worse by ongoing political turmoil over investigations into state government firm 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) that investors say is affecting confidence.

Azmin today said people were not fooled by Najib’s “grandstanding” and public relations “sound bites”.

The ringgit is likely to remain weak so long as political uncertainties continue.

“The prime minister must therefore stop this charade of pretending that it is business as usual and that he can continue to lead the nation out of the mess by merely dismissing his deputy and appointing new ministers to shore up support for him,” he said, referring to Najib’s recent move to reshuffle his Cabinet by dropping those critical of his handling of 1MDB.

Najib is also finance minister and chairman of 1MDB’s advisory board.

Azmin said Najib has failed to come clean on 1MDB’s financial scandals involving debts of RM42 billion, and especially the RM2.6 billion in his accounts from a political donor, and their impact on the nation.

He said there were indeed external factors causing the ringgit’s fall, such as drop in oil prices, a likely increase in US interest rates, and China’s depreciation of its yuan.

“But these factors are affecting other currencies in the region as well. The question is why is our ringgit the hardest hit among all the major regional currencies?” Azmin said.

He added that recent moves such as the disbanding of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as a result of the Cabinet reshuffle, and the apparent obstruction of anti-graft investigators probing into a 1MDB-linked company, had also given the appearance of collusion and conspiracy in the government, which worsened negative perceptions on the country’s leadership. – August 14, 2015.

Source: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/change-leadership-to-save-malaysia-from-disaster-says-selangor-mb#sthash.ob0Fyj9v.dpuf

Ringgit fall others’ fault but never PM’s: Azmin

Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali has slammed Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for blaming others but not himself for the ringgit’s plunge in value against the US dollar.

Commenting on Najib’s statement yesterday that ‘… the existence of political play and intense speculation has resulted in an uncertain sentiment towards the administration’ Azmin said this was clearly aimed at pointing the blame on the ringgit fiasco on others but not on the premier.

“The prime minister must stop pulling wool over the people’s eyes concerning the causes for the ringgit’s plunge which has made it Asia’s worst-performing currency this year,” the Selangor menteri besar said in a statement today.

Azmin, who is also PKR deputy president, pointed out Najib had failed to mention that the ‘uncertain sentiment’ was very much linked to the financial scandal, in relation to the RM2.6 billion purportedly transferred into the prime minister’s personal accounts.

Apart from this, the appearance of ‘collusion and conspiracy’ at high places to interfere with the independent investigations of the task force, the disbanding of the PAC and the obstruction of the MACC in its investigations are the major factors compounding the negative perceptions on the country’s leadership, said Azmin.

Admitting that adverse external circumstances are partly responsible such as the decline in commodity prices including oil, the anticipated increase in the US interest rates, and the ongoing depreciation of the Chinese yuan, Azmin however pointed out that these factors were affecting other currencies in the region as well.

“The question is why is our ringgit the hardest hit among all the major regional currencies?

“The prime minister must therefore stop this charade of pretending that it is business as usual and that he can continue to lead the nation out of this mess by merely dismissing his deputy and appointing new ministers to shore up support for him.

‘Don’t interfere in Bank Negara’

“No one is fooled by his grandstanding and press relations soundbites. The ringgit is likely to remain weak so long as political uncertainties continue.

“The perception is that nothing short of major changes in leadership and the political equation can halt the slide as well as save us from the brink of national disaster,” said Azmin

Despite Najib’s assurance last night that efforts would be made to address the country’s sliding currency, the ringgit today has seen a sharp plunge.

As of 11.10am, the ringgit stood at RM4.1223 to a US dollar, a decline of 2.3 percent from the opening index.

This is down from a high of RM3.1415 to a US dollar in the last year.

On Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz’s (photo) ’emergence’ from her ‘sudden disappearance’, Azmin told the government to stop interfering with her duties.

“Regardless of the supposed approval given by the governor to question her officers, we condemn the unwarranted exercise of such powers which under the circumstances was tantamount to interfering in the then ongoing Bank Negara investigation,” he said.

Zeti yesterday confirmed that seven Bank Negara officers had been probed by the police so far for purportedly leaking information from its investigations on the 1MDB issue.

This followed police investigation and raids against seven MACC officers over the same issue. The investigation has since been suspended.

Source: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/308537

Azmin To PM : Stop Fooling The People

PRESS RELEASE
14 AUGUST 2015

Azmin To PM : Stop Fooling The People

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak must stop pulling wool over the people’s eyes concerning the causes for the ringgit’s plunge which has made it Asia’s worst-performing currency this year.

The Prime Minister’s statement yesterday that “the existence of political play and intense speculation has resulted in an uncertain sentiment towards the administration,” is clearly aimed at pointing the blame on our ringgit fiasco on others but himself.

What he has glaringly failed to mention is that the “uncertain sentiment” is very much linked to the financial scandal that is gripping the nation relating to the RM2.6 billion secretly transferred to his personal account as well as the sheer size of the 1MDB debacle.

In addition, the appearance of collusion and conspiracy at high places to interfere with the independent investigations of the task force leading to its “sudden death”, the disbanding of the PAC team and the blatant obstruction of the MACC in its investigations are the major factors compounding the negative perceptions on the country’s leadership.

It is true that adverse external circumstances such as the decline in commodity prices including oil, the anticipated increase in the US interest rates, and the ongoing depreciation of the Chinese yuan are partly responsible. But these factors are affecting other currencies in the region as well. The question is why is our ringgit the hardest hit among all the major regional currencies?

The Prime Minister must therefore stop this charade of pretending that it is business as usual and that he can continue to lead the nation out of the mess by merely dismissing his deputy and appointing new ministers to shore up support for him.

No one is fooled by grandstanding and PR sound bites. The ringgit is likely to remain weak so long as political uncertainties continue. The perception is that nothing short of major changes in leadership and the political equation can halt the slide as well as save us from the brink of national disaster.

While we welcome back Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz to the fold after her sudden disappearance, Putrajaya must stop interfering with her duties. Regardless of the supposed “approval” given by the governor to question her officers, we condemn the unwarranted exercise of such powers which under the circumstances was tantamount to interfering in the then on-going BNM investigation.

On the statement by Zeti that our monetary policy “is accommodative and supportive of economic activity”, it must be said the interventions by Bank Negara have not been able to stop the ringgit slide. They only treat the symptoms and not the disease, and are therefore ineffective, resulting only in further reserve losses.

MOHAMED AZMIN ALI
Menteri Besar of Selangor | Deputy President, People’s Justice Party