Annuar says not proper to claim anti-inflation task force has failed

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It is not appropriate to accuse the Special Task Force on Jihad Against Inflation of failing in its job just because Bank Negara Malaysia raised the overnight policy rate, chairman Annuar Musa says. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, September 12, 2022.

IT is not appropriate to accuse the Special Task Force on Jihad Against Inflation of failing in its job just because Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) raised the overnight policy rate (OPR), chairman Annuar Musa said.

Speaking at a press conference after chairing the task force meeting in Putrajaya today, Annuar said matters concerning national monetary policies were not decided by the task force or the cabinet but by BNM’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which has an excellent record in economic management.

“It is not proper for a lawmaker to say the task force has failed because the OPR rose by 25 basis points. That’s a very shallow way of evaluating the country’s economic management,” said Annuar, when commenting on DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng’s call for the task force to be dissolved.

Last Friday, Lim urged Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to dissolve the task force, claiming that it was ineffective, inefficient and irrelevant in stemming a rise in prices of goods.

Citing BNM’s statement that the OPR hike was due to inflationary pressures, Lim, the Bagan MP, said this basically refuted Annuar’s claim that inflation was under control in the country.

Last Thursday, BNM increased the OPR by 25 basis points to 2.50%, the third consecutive rate hike made by the central bank.

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Annuar said certain countries had taken more drastic steps by raising the OPR by 75 basis points due to high inflationary pressures but in Malaysia, the process of restoring the OPR to a stable level was done gradually with a 25-point increase each time.

“There is no need to doubt the action taken by MPC because they take an overall view of the scenario to ensure the country has a good monetary policy,” said the communications and multimedia minister.

Annuar said the task force would remain committed in combating inflation although it was not an easy job.

He said the task force was not formed on an ad hoc basis because it was established based on a cabinet paper prepared by the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department.

“Nobody should be passing the buck. The cabinet has decided to take the bull by the horns and micro-manage every problem faced by the people,” he said, adding that all quarters should cooperate instead of working in silos.

On concerns regarding depreciation of the ringgit, Annuar said the worries were actually on the drop against certain currencies, especially the US and Singapore dollars against which the ringgit had weakened by 7% and 3.9% respectively.

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