Governor Zeti: The Ringgit has taken a beating under your watch

June 11, 2015

Governor Zeti: The Ringgit has taken a beating  under your watch; no  more of your sweet talk

by Tan Sri (Dr.) Ramon Navaratnam,Chairman, Center of Public Policy Studies–ASLI


The Governor of Bank Negara Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz publicly stated confidently, on June 8, that “the current weaknesses of the currency will be temporary“ We all hope that her judgment is right. But we cannot in fairness hold her to her current assessment, given the growing uncertainties at home and abroad.

Nevertheless, it is difficult at this stage, to accept that the declining Ringgit is temporary feature, for the following reasons:

1. The Ringgit has been declining steadily and has reached its weakest point in the last nine years under her watch. It is therefore not a sudden slip but apparently the Ringgit could be showing signs of a declining trend on a more permanent basis.

2. The Ringgit is driven down by both weakening economic fundamentals and uneasy sentiments as well. Thus it is important that we should not under play the weak fundamentals nor down play the soft sentiments, for they need not be temporary phenomena, but more longer term in nature.

3. The economic fundamentals, although currently good, are however not that strong in the longer term. The claim of strong fundamentals cannot be assumed to be sustainable and permanent either.

For instance the Budget deficit is still under strain, the Balance of Payments need not be buoyant with the continuing low energy prices. This is aggravated by the higher import prices, due to the fall in the Ringgit. The national debt burden still weighs heavily on our economic shoulders.

Dejected Najib with FLOM

Furthermore, private capital outflows continue to be one of the highest in the world and the skilled brain drain is persistent? Corruption is rife and this adds to cost, while undermining public policies and worsening the income disparities , poverty and inflation.

These are fundamental weaknesses that have to be addressed to boost investment confidence and  improve business sentiment.

Soft Sentiments

During the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, Malaysia was forced for peg the ringgit & impose capital controls to stop a massive flight of capital

4. The present political environment is bad, generating negative sentiments. Malaysians generally are fed up with all this unnecessary and unhealthy politicking. Perhaps many politicians enjoy these political games, but most Malaysians are very tired of this distraction from the main purpose of Government and the Opposition, which is to deliver on their election promises, to benefit all Malaysians and promote a better Malaysia.

Instead, everyday we rise to read in the mass media a lot of wasteful discussion on political diatribe and personal character assassinations. This is immature and intolerable .

How can then there be positive sentiments and national confidence? That is why capital and brain power flow out continuously. Graduates by the thousands come out from our universities ill equipped to find decent jobs. We have flip flopped on the teaching of Science and Maths in the modern and universal English Language .How well then can our graduates contribute highly to the economic development and to nation building? In fact there will be widening income disparities between graduates who have a command of English and those who learn a smattering of English . The rich will then become richer and the poor will remain poor. This could cause social problems and disunity ?

5. Racial and religious extremists are increasing and good citizens are called seditious names. Many from both groups also get away with impunity. Safety and security is said to be improving, but people perceive it as declining. Islam and order declining too ?

The 1MDB problems are being investigated, but before the outcome is known , there are those who choose to relentlessly attack the Leaders without respite. Could there not be a Moratorium that could shows dignity, proper decorum, and common decency?

No wonder sentiment is so low and national depression and disgust so high? All this will erode the economic fundamentals and weaken confidence and the currency, which could continue to decline.


The Malaysian RinggitFor the above reasons, many Malaysians and foreign friends, may share my view that the Ringgit is not going to strengthen in the near future. Its consistent decline, to the bad times we experienced in 1997, is therefore unlikely to be a temporary, but more likely to be more permanent

I almost fear that the Ringgit’s decline could reflect our weakening socio economic fundamentals and the sad sentiments in our beloved country today

Firm Decisions

 Unless there is real change in our policies and practices and the 11th Malaysia Plan is set on a more dynamic course of reforms, I believe that we may face continuing pressure on the Ringgit. This could make it more difficult to regard the Ringgit decline, as only a temporary feature.

In fact we are probably witnessing an unfortunate trend towards a weaker Ringgit – well beyond a temporary phase.

We may thus have to revise our analysis and be prepared to face more challenging times ahead.In the meantime, the Government should appoint an Independent Committee made up of professionals , to make recommendations to the Government on how to ensure that the declining Ringgit is only temporary and does not develop into  an irreversible trend , which would seriously undermine our economic well being.

11 thoughts on “Governor Zeti: The Ringgit has taken a beating under your watch

  1. Good essay by Navaratnam.

    In a country where there is a weak government, this may galvanise them into action. But Malaysia is not run by a government but a bunch of robbers. So long as they are in charge, the country will never progress. Seriously, does anyone have any confidence in what any of our ministers or government officials say when they make public statements? Most of them demonstrate a sore lack of intelligence when they speak. Those who seemed intelligent have such “good credibility” that I would not let a child with a lollipop in their care.

    Wake up, Malaysians! So long as these bunch of robbers are in office, nothing will change for the better for Malaysia …. because we are too lazy to change anything.

  2. Quote:- “the Government should appoint an Independent Committee made up of professionals , to make recommendations to the Government on how to ensure that the declining Ringgit is only temporary and does not develop into a permanent trend , which would seriously undermine our country”

    You have no idea what is really happening in the real world do you?

    Perhaps you fancy yourself as one of these “professionals”?

    How long will it take this Committee to come up with its recommendations, 6 months, 1 year, or when it suits the PM?

    Please put away all your textbooks. You read too much academic rubbish. A country does not run on committees.

    Don’t just conveniently blame the Governor. Blaming her is like blaming bad weather on the weather forecaster. You do not see the PM as part of the problem, or are you too scared to say so?

    I know Ramon Navaratnam well. He overrates himself. I am sure he wants to be on that professional committee. You are spot on.As far as Zeti is concerned, I think she has been too long on the job. It is time for her to be replaced.–Din Merican.

  3. At a time when practically all markets are openly rigged, currency values against each other are relative and cannot reflect any useful parameter.

    Not long ago the Rouble experienced a similar slide… here was the currency of a country with huge trade surpluses sliding against the currency of a country with the largest debt…. inverted economics?

    It would be more useful for us to concentrate a lot more on how to zero our DEBT and learn to live on balanced budgets… because when debt boomerangs it is the end.

  4. Yup, you’re right Wayne about ‘Committees’ ad infinitum.
    Hands on proactive execution by pragmatic experienced practitioners and experts should be enjoined – not mere ‘professionals’ who’re more likely to prevaricate – without coming up with workable or practical solutions.

    So what is the Economic Council for? Play marbles? Carroms?
    As they say: The road to perdition is paved with good intentions and bad governance.
    When priorities are wrong – economic indices are used as masks instead of a tool for correction. But no amount of fudging, hedging and invectives will change the outcome.

    Imagine, there are only 4 ministers who are considered ‘economically’ inclined and all of them are totally out of phase, if not unsound. And the Finance Minister has no idea what is which and worse still with a penchant for Ah-Longism?

    So i guess the BN governor must take the fall.. Someone has to.

    What can you expect from a former civil servant except committees and more committees. Policymakers know our problems. They are not using their brains or are they brain dead? Ad absurdum. Cheers.–Din Merican

  5. “Governor Zeti: The Ringgit has taken a beating under your watch”

    But then…who appointed/approved the appointment to her position for the last 14 years…?

    Big in Asia: 25 Strategies for Business Success Pg 154 – “Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed appointed Zeti Akhtar Aziz as the governor of Bank Negara, Malaysia’s central bank in early 2001…”

    The ruling PEEM & UMNO…!

    So she is “beholden” to the ruling PEEM & UMNO to carry out their biddings…

    Typical “Saya menurut perintah…perintah SIAPA…???”

    Just to share some of these great quotes…

    “There is…an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents….

    The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provisions should be made to prevent its ascendancy.” – Thomas Jefferson quotes (American 3rd US President (1801-09). Author of the Declaration of Independence. 1762-1826)

    “Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.” – Martin Luther King, Jr

    “A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves
    who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”

    Governments have never existed to solve problems domestic or international.
    Governments and their institutions exist merely to further and secure the
    interests of favored groups, but We the People are never the favored group.

    Puppets, every last one of them, every “head of state” with the rarest of exceptions, is a puppet.

    This is a truth that must be understood in order to affect a better world.

    “I freed a thousand slaves – I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”

    Fear not the path of truth, fear the lack of people walking on it. – Robert Francis Kennedy

    “Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.
    It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein

    You be the judge.

  6. I have a particular dislike for Ramon. In 2011 when we had that brilliant refugee swap deal with Australia, it was good old Ramon, who was the mouthpiece for the current Regime in the Australian media, citing the “benefits” of such a swap.

    Civil servants and former servants like Ramon have really no interest in solving problems but rather profiting from them through committees, think tanks and all those other assorted accruements of civil society to give them a veneer of credibility.

    I would argue that Ramon is part of the problem of why the civil service is the way it is today. No point in attempting revisionism at this stage. Everything this man say in terms of combating the diseases that inflict Malaysia are equivalent of placebos.
    Ramon thinks he is doing great service to civil society. The mainstream papers like the Star and the New Straits Times carry his writings and comments. He is treated like the Oracle of Bangsar–Pantai Hills and gets a lot of kicks from attention. Personally, he is a nice and funny guy. I sit on the advisory board of Center for Policy and Strategic Studies-ASLI of which he is the Chairman.–Din Merican

  7. Blame the Shrinkggit on the currency speculators, the Jews, George Soros, Singapore and the Great Satan. Did I leave out anyone else? Or, yes, John Mallot.

  8. Mahathir says of the issue of 1MDB excuse their money in Singapore because of Bank Negara – “Zeti ini, dia bukan susah sangat nak bekerjasama, suruh dia buat, dia buat juga” which sums up the issue of Zeti. Be realistic about what even a good Bank Governor can do in this country..

  9. bigjoe99,

    Talk about the “International Licenced Alongs”…

    BNM is part of (Rothschild’s) IMF, World bank, BIS, etc towards their NWO Debt agenda of nations with Kleptocratic Political leaders…!

    Being beholden to the ruling PEEM & UMNO that put her there since 2001 (Madey), she will close one eye to allow “DEBT” creation…

    Just to share this…

    Does Rothschild own and control Bank Negara Malaysia – Central Bank of Malaysia? –


    February 6th 2010 – Some of the humanoids at the normally with the war profiteers fully compliant Bloomberg’s info and disinfo department woke up, and had this to say about the global & criminal financial Rothschild cartel, and it’s no wonder they hide. There are millions upon millions of people who know exactly why and what for they all would like to strangle them. And the banking bandits know it too, that’s why the criminal crooks hide in the Arctic Circle and always behind (tax paid!) so called ‘security’. Look at this:

    “…The outlook for global growth is likely to be a key theme of the high level central bank talks. The gathering also comes at an important time for the BIS as it initiates an overhaul of the global banking system which will include new capital rules applying to banks and more stringent standards regulating executive pay. A key part of the two-day talkfest will be a special meeting of Asian central bankers chaired by the governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia, Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz…”

    Influential BIS general manager Jaime Caruana is also expected to take a prominent role in the talks. Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan will address the central bank officials at a dinner on Monday night.” – [and end]

    Story Url.:

    2. BISTRO – Bank of International Settlements Total Rip Off – By …
    Sep 29, 2010 – Click here to download Matthias Chang’s article in PDF Format …Basel Accords III is another crude endeavour by BIS and Global Too Big To …

     Communist Manifesto #5: Installation of a CENTRAL Bank.
     “Loans alone cannot sustain the money supply because they zero out when they get paid back. In order to keep money in the system, some major player has to incur substantial debt that never gets paid back; and this role is played by the federal government.” – Ellen Brown, Web of Debt

    “Well organized criminal group we call Mafia, the best organized Mafia, we call the Government. ”

    You be the judge.

  10. @Robert Lim

    That kind of reporting is what happens when you hire analysts who don’t do their homework, especially the foreign ones.

    MAS hasn’t actually spent a cent on defending the SGD; what you’re seeing here is simply a change in FX valuation, relative to the US Dollar (and please don’t equate this with an FX loss). There has been NO change in MAS reserves in SGD terms. The reason for the valuation change is the rise of the USD versus nearly every other reserve currency.

    They actually addressed this months ago:

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