KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin insisted his successor was not entitled to all the credit for the country’s recent economic recovery, saying the latter only came in after all the difficult decisions were already made.

Speaking to the press while campaigning for the Pagoh seat in Johor, the National Recovery Council chairman said Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s administration was simply reaping the fruits of his labour.

“I have to say here, we can’t give all the credit to the new prime minister. The (improvement) came after the period when all the hard measures had to be taken, and following the reopening of the economy at appropriate times,” he said.

“So, please do not say that credit must go to Barisan Nasional, because a large part of the economic improvement came from Perikatan Nasional’s recovery plans.”

Earlier today, Bank Negara Malaysia reported a 14.2 per cent growth in Malaysia’s economy during the third quarter, exceeding previous projections.

Since then, both Ismail Sabri and caretaker finance minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz, who is BN’s candidate for Kuala Selangor, have held up the performance as indication that the government was steering the country towards recovery.

Muhyiddin’s remarks today appear to be a continuation of his plan to claim recognition for his handling of the pandemic when it first arrived in Malaysia, to help spur his coalition that has suddenly become a contender in the 15th general election.

In an interview with Nikkei Asia, Muhyiddin said he believed Malaysians appreciated the unprecedented measures he took to safeguard their lives and livelihoods when Covid-19 brought Malaysia and the rest of the world to a standstill in 2020.

Separately, a Merdeka Center presentation has also put Muhyiddin’s PN in a position to capitalise on a projected vote swing away from Barisan Nasional.

Merdeka Center director Ibrahim Suffian said there was a prevailing view among Malays that Muhyiddin had been punished for opposing then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the 1MDB scandal in 2015.