Anwar Ibrahim has rubbished Treasury secretary-general Irwan Serigar Abdullah's assertions that the Malaysian economy was strong and was only being weighed down by perception.
"This belies and trivialises the actual challenges faced by millions of Malaysians," Anwar, a former finance minister, said in a statement through his lawyer Latheefa Koya today.
Irwan had on Thursday said the economy under Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's leadership was strong, but was being dragged down by negative perception.
Anwar however said this was a denial of the facts.
The jailed PKR de facto leader said Malaysians were bearing the brunt of a "record-plummet" of the ringgit as well as rising cost of living brought on by the implementation of the goods and services tax.
He added that the economic situation is being made worse by alleged corruption and waste by the government, as well as the 1MDB scandal.
"Malaysia cannot expect to resolve these issues when the leaders and top bureaucrats are not addressing outstanding economic issues.
"The government must stop giving empty assurances about the economy, and instead take immediate action to restore the livelihood and hopes of the rakyat," Anwar said.
The ringgit is currently hovering at around RM4.4 to one US dollar and edging closer towards the historic low of RM4.7 to a US dollar seen in 1998.
Economists have also said that the 1MDB scandal is weighing heavily on the economy.
1MDB is the subject of multiple international probes, including by the US Department of Justice (DOJ)
The DOJ claimed that more than US$3.5 billion of 1MDB funds were misappropriated.
However, despite this, economists also expect Malaysia's gross domestic product growth to remain strong with a projected growth of between four to five percent for 2016.- Mkini