Najib Abdul Razak has chastised Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng for being "defensive" and deliberately using "wrong dates" to confuse the people in Lim's attempt to defend the strength of the ringgit.
"Before this, he made an error in decimal points. Then, Guan Eng said he misunderstood and slapped a 10 percent sales tax on fresh goods.
"Now Guan Eng has mistaken his dates. The government change was not at the end of 2017 but on May 9, 2018.
"Just to address my concern that the value of the ringgit is deteriorating, Guan Eng should not be defensive by issuing a statement using incorrect dates to confuse the people," Najib said in a Facebook posting.
This followed a statement by the finance minister yesterday which stated that the ringgit's performance against the US dollar was among the best compared to most of the world's major currencies despite the recent change in domestic federal power and external factors.
Lim pointed out that since end-2017, the ringgit's value versus the greenback only slid 2.2 percent, as of Sept 11, and was proof of investor confidence in Malaysia.
Lim's statement had followed an earlier one by Najib who expressed concern at the falling value of the ringgit following the general election, despite the strengthening of global oil prices.
In his posting today, Najib insisted the value of the ringgit was strengthening against the dollar at the end of 2017 but this changed after GE14, falling to RM4.15 from RM3.85 against the dollar in April.
The ringgit, he claimed, was also weaker compared to other currencies in the region.
"Among the factors that many analysts state as the reasons behind the weakening ringgit since GE14 are the large outflow of foreign funds and government policies that are inconsistent," he said.
Najib added that Lim should instead take measures to prevent the possibility of further decline of the ringgit so that Malaysia does not experience an economic crisis should global oil prices crash, like what occurred in 2015 and 2016.