KUALA LUMPUR – Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said Malaysia’s current currency depreciation is not unique as more than 120 currencies globally have fallen against the US dollar.
Speaking to the New Straits Times in an exclusive interview published today, Zeti said the phenomenon had affected the oil and commodity producers more as their currencies depreciated further against the US dollar than the other group.
In Malaysia’s case, Zeti said, some domestic issues had affected sentiment as well as confidence, and need to be resolved.
“It would then contribute to a recovery to our currency,” the governor added.
The ringgit weakened beyond RM4 against the US dollar affecting the households that have to reckon with higher prices of food and others.
Zeti stressed that “to say it is not a challenging period is denial and a lot of it is beyond our control. The fact that the US dollar strengthened against 120 currencies is a reflection of this.”
She pointed out that Malaysians have to learn to manage themselves through the current challenging period.
“Our track record has shown us that every time we have been set back, time and again we have been able to bounce back. It is more than once. We bounce back, and we bounce back quickly,” said the governor.
Zeti said those with savings would be able to ride out the challenging period but they also have to manage themselves carefully.
“They must adjust to living within their means and look at all options and possibilities. Businesses need to do the same,” she added.
Should they experience financial stress, Zeti said, advisory services could help get their debts restructured.
“They have to be aware of programmes that may help them. There are programmes for those in the workforce to be retrained and assistance is available for those with children studying abroad, they have to look at all the options,” she said.
As of 11.50 am today, the ringgit was traded at 4.2540/2630 against the US dollar. – BERNAMA