SUNGAI SIPUT: Plenty of things in the country have improved after Barisan Nasional took over the Federal Government, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Among these included the economy and unemployment rate.

“The GDP went up on every quarter of the year.

“In the first quarter, it was about 5%, second quarter was 8.9%. It is among the highest in the region,” the caretaker Prime Minister told a press conference after attending the Keluarga Felda Lasah programme here yesterday.

“The latest (figure in the) third quarter was 14.2%, which is the highest in South-East Asia,” he said, adding that foreign direct investment and trade have also improved.

“So who has failed now? Numbers don’t lie. It is clear that we have been successful,” he said.

Ismail Sabri was responding to claims by several Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional leaders that the Federal Government had failed to manage the country.

Ismail Sabri said the unemployment rate had gone down from 5% to about 3.6% now.

“Every month, we have managed to reduce the unemployment numbers,” he added.

He also said that Covid-19 cases had also dropped significantly since he became the Prime Minister.

“When I took over (as Prime Minister), there were about 24,000 cases, which was the highest in the country then.

“Hundreds died while the intensive care unit (ICU) beds were almost not enough.

“After a few months (since I took over), Covid-19 cases dropped.

“Our vaccination programme is one of the best in the world, and among the countries with the highest vaccination rates globally.

“By April, we opened our borders and our economy is improving,” he added.

Ismail Sabri criticised his detractors for making unsubstantiated accusations against him.

“They play politics all the time while we are working for the people.

“They cannot accept our successes. Show your numbers to say I have failed, as I have already shown mine,” he added.

Ismail Sabri called for all Barisan Nasional candidates to cease all attacks against each other and concentrate on winning the general election.

“I have spoken about this earlier that there is no need to talk about party matters now,” he said when asked to comment on Khairy Jamaluddin’s recent remark that Umno needed to be “cleansed”.

“We learn (from the past) and let us focus on winning as a dominant party to become the Federal Government,” he added.

On whether Barisan will collaborate with other coalitions to form the government, he said: “If we win, we can form the government. Whether we need to collaborate, we will decide later as we do not know it yet,” he said.

“We will need to convene a (Barisan) supreme council meeting on this, but we need to cross the bridge first, then we decide.

“As for parties in Sabah and Sarawak, we can work with them as they are also part of us,” he added.

Ismail Sabri was asked to comment on a remark by PAS secretary-general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan that Perikatan Nasional was confident that it would form the Federal Government with another coalition, especially Barisan, after GE15.