The Special Task Force on Jihad Against Inflation led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and currently chaired by Tan Sri Annuar Musa is ineffective and should be abolished, says DAP national chairman Lim Guan Eng.
He added the task force is incompetent and irrelevant when it comes to formulating strategies to tackle the rising prices.
Lim said this in response to the recent Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) hike by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to 2.50%.
“Is it worthwhile to sacrifice the people’s socio-economic wellbeing, the country’s post-pandemic economic growth facing pressure from rising prices, higher borrowing costs of businesses and individual loans on houses and vehicles, cash flows of traders and cost of funds of investors?” he asked, reported Malay Mail.
“At the very least, either the committee headed by Annuar should be abolished for being ineffective, incompetent and irrelevant to stem rising prices or he should be replaced by the prime minister.” he added.
Besides, he also expresses doubt about BNM’s decision to increase the OPR will have any effect on curbing inflation. He explained that the inflation faced by the country is not caused by excessive demand but by supply chain disruptions as a result of the Ukraine war and the Covid-19 lockdowns in China.
Lim said the OPR hike may result in reduced demand and economic growth without bringing prices down.
Apart from inflation, Lim also pointed out that the ringgit has now breached a 24-year low of more than RM4.50 to the US dollar, and a historic low of RM3.25 to the Singapore dollar whilst the Indonesian rupiah has strengthened by 3% this year against the ringgit.
“The ringgit’s weakness is not just against the US dollar but also against the currencies of our neighbours, indicating investors’ assessment of the better performance of their economies,” he said.
Lim then called for the government to come up with effective strategies in combating inflation and renew confidence in the ringgit through good governance, sound fiscal policies, transparency and implementing open tenders to combat corruption.
“This is the price for the government’s failure in curbing inflation and protecting the value of the ringgit that the people and businesses, especially SMEs, have to pay in terms of higher interest rate,” he said.
On Thursday (8 September), BNM announced that the overnight policy rate (OPR) will increase by 25 basis points to 2.5% in view of further normalisation of monetary policy as the country’s economic growth and inflation gain momentum.