SIBU, Nov 5 — Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg today said the time has not come for the state to have its own currency in place of the Malaysian ringgit as suggested by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) secretary-general Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi previously.
“If there is a correct way ... maybe ... maybe, but let PBB be strong first,” he said when addressing the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu central zone special convention held in conjunction with 60 years of Sarawak independence.
He said the value of the Malaysian ringgit has depreciated so much that prompted Nanta to suggest in the past that the state should have its own currency.
“His reasoning is that since Sarawak has a strong economy, then we should have our own currency.
“My reply is that (we) could, but don’t be in a hurry,” Abang Johari, who is also PBB president, said.
Abang Johari said making PBB strong must be a priority.
He said when PBB has become strong, then the state government can look for experts to take care of the economy.
“The Malaysian economy is like what it is now. That is why the value of our ringgit against the US dollar is bad, almost RM5 to the US dollar,” he said.
He said the depreciation of the Malaysian currency is due in part to the political uncertainty in peninsular Malaysia.
Abang Johari said the Sarawak economy, on the other hand, has improved as can be seen by many foreign companies coming over to invest in the state.