KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — Rising inflation is the biggest economic issue that Putrajaya should address when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tables the 2018 federal budget this Friday, DAP’s Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said today.
In a statement, Pua said the inflation rate in the country has continued to soar over the last two years after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and is now even higher than real interest rates being offered by banks.
“Malaysia recorded an inflation of 4.3 per cent year-on-year in September, the highest since March, mainly due to the rise in transportation costs and prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages,” Pua said.
He said that the inflation increase is the worst Malaysia has seen in a decade since the global financial crisis in 2008.
“In fact, Malaysia is currently suffering from negative real interest rates. A survey of the local banks would show that they are only paying up to interests of 3.05 per cent for one-month fixed deposits,” he said.
“This means our hard-earned savings kept in the banks are worth less tomorrow than they are worth today,” he added.
He said that Malaysians are already poorer due to the depreciating ringgit, and are now being hit harder as wealth in “local ringgit” is also shrinking.
“Hence, the single biggest economic threat which must be addressed in the 2018 Budget to be announced on Friday this week is Malaysia’s inflation rate,” he said, urging Putrajaya not to gloss over the issue.