KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today said that if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob continues to fail in overseeing the country and its economy well, it is best for elections to be held to make way for a more effective government.
The former prime minister and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president said in a post on his Facebook page that he has not yet reached the stage of urging the prime minister to dissolve Parliament, but instead pointed out how the decline of the ringgit’s value, increasing inflation and post-pandemic economy have brought hardship to the people.
“It appears as if the prime minister does not view these issues as important.
“Maybe it is because only 35 per cent of the people are satisfied with his performance,” he said, adding that only 18 per cent of Malaysians are satisfied with the economic management of the country.
He did not state where these statistics were derived, although he cited a study from local think tank Merdeka Center for Opinion Research from December 2021 which found that 12 per cent of citizens have started eating only once or twice a day (skipping meals), 12 per cent delay medical treatment and 31 per cent were late on paying debts and bills because of financial concerns.
He referred to another study by Mindshare, a non-governmental entity, which found 61 per cent of Malaysians belong to the lowest income group (B60), with a household income below RM5,000 a month after the Covid-19 pandemic struck the country. It also found that 76 per cent of this group earn less than RM3,000 a month.
“The decline in value of the ringgit is not taken seriously. The prime minister has failed to explain the measures the government will take to stem the fall of the ringgit’s value,” he said.
Muhyiddin said that Malaysia imports a significant portion of its foodstuffs and the value of imported foodstuffs in the past year had exceeded RM63 billion.
He pointed out that if the value of the ringgit continues to fall, it would cause the cost of food to increase further.
“As chairman of the National Recovery Council (MPN), I have voiced my concerns and put forward several recommendations to the government, including re-implementing the moratorium on affected micro, small and medium enterprises,” he added.
He said that MPN had put forward many suggestions to speed up the process of economic recovery from the pandemic such as simplifying the loan application process for businesses that need capital and solving the issue of labour shortage.
“Many businesses or enterprises have been forced to close or operate on a smaller scale because of the labour shortage,” he said, adding that the palm oil industry has faced RM10.25 billion in losses because of a lack of workers to harvest fruit.
“He acts as if Malaysia is not in a crisis. As if everything is okay,” he went on to say, speaking of Ismail Sabri.