Saturday, July 13

Unfair to use ringgit-US dollar rate as sole gauge of state of economy, says Ahmad Maslan

The ringgit’s value versus the US dollar should not be used as the sole gauge of the state of the economy, according to Deputy Finance Minister I Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan.

It is unfair for analysts to assess the economic situation simply based on this yardstick because there are other criteria that should be considered, he said before proceeding to cite five other indicators.

“Firstly, there is our economic growth, which is forecast at 4%-5% next year. The second gauge is the country’s fiscal deficit which is set to fall to 4.3% (next year) from 5% this year. Thirdly, the inflation rate has continued to decline to 1.9% (in September),” he told the media after officiating the Islamic Distinguished Entrepreneur Award (IDEA Award) 2023 ceremony organised by the Muslim Insiders Chamber of Commerce on Friday night.

In addition, Ahmad pointed out the efforts to ensure that the overnight policy rate (OPR) remains at 3%, as announced by Bank Negara Malaysia on Thursday, as well as the current 3.4% unemployment rate, which is below the full employment rate of 4%.

“These are the real indicators. Moreover, the level of investments announced for the first half of this year is high. All these show our economy is on a solid footing with strong fundamentals,” he added.

The Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry announced in September that the country recorded RM132.6 billion worth of approved investments in the first six months of 2023.

Ahmad, therefore, reminded critics to look at the key economic measurements, which form the foundation of what are being taught in economics by universities and institutions of higher learning.

“It is not fair to refer only to the ringgit-US dollar (exchange rate),” he said.

The IDEA Award 2023 is aimed at recognising and honouring Muslim entrepreneurs who have achieved an exceptional level of excellence in various economic sectors as well as non-Muslim business owners who uphold the characteristics of Muslim-friendly businesses.

Muslim Insiders president Professor Adam Richman said in a statement that the IDEA Award 2023 is a platform to recognise the outstanding efforts of Muslim entrepreneurs in Malaysia.

“We believe that these efforts will not only benefit their businesses, but also society and the Malaysia Madani economy.

“This award is an important step in supporting the development of an excellent and competitive Muslim business community,” he said. – Bernama

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