KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng today urged the government to stop its obsession with calling for the 15th general election this year.
He said the government should instead focus on doing its job to prevent the country's economy from falling into a recession.
"The current Cabinet members' poor performance is due to their obsession with the general elections expected this year when they should be focusing on preventing an economic recession next year.
"At a time when Malaysia faces a host of economic problems, instead of doing their jobs designing cogent public policies to address them, government Ministers are running around campaigning and politicking.
"There is more attention on Umno’s demand of early elections and Perikatan Nasional threatening to pull out its support for Ismail Sabri due to Ismail breaking his promises, than on pressing economic issues ranging from soaring prices of food and materials, a severe labour shortage, a depreciating ringgit and rising interest rates," said Lim in a statement this afternoon.
Lim added that DAP welcomes the denial by Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz today that the date for tabling Budget 2023 in Parliament will be earlier to allow for general elections to take place.
"He insisted that the Budget will still be tabled on October 28," Lim said
Lim cited how severe the global situation is which can be seen by the US economy in technical recession over the first two quarters of 2022 and the Bank of England predicting that the United Kingdom will be in recession in the final quarter of 2022.
"Yet, the government in its self-absorption with politicking, continues to express optimism that Malaysia can achieve the 2022 projected economic growth of up to 6.3 per cent.
"Even the International Monetary Fund had lowered its growth target of Malaysia to at best 5.6 per cent for 2022," he said.
Meanwhile, the ringgit value continues to decline against the US at RM4.46. a 5-year low, and the lowest value on record of RM3.24 to the Singapore dollar. Despite high oil and palm oil prices, the ringgit continues to depreciate when it should be strengthening.
"Even when Pakatan Harapan (HP) was in power with low oil and palm oil prices, the ringgit has never dropped to such record levels.
"Whilst the government can dismiss the decline in the ringgit vis a vis the US dollar due to interest rate hikes of 2.25 per cent by the Federal Reserve Bank, the precipitous drop against the Singapore dollar highlights the recovery risks and weakness of our economy against two of our three largest trading partners.
"Policymakers should address them and also quickly overcome the failure of foreign labour to enter Malaysia. The severe labour shortage has caused RM33.5 billion losses to the palm oil, glove and auto spare parts industry as well as tens of billions of ringgit in other sectors," he said.
He also pointed out that the government's promise on Indonesian workers coming in by August 1 has yet to be realised.
He added that the government should out in place measures to curb rising prices with interest rate hikes that have not proven effective.