Sidek presents find­ings to king

Find­ings, rec­om­men­da­tions within terms of ref­er­ence, says chair­man

New Straits Times - - Front Page - VEENA BABULAL AND LIDIANA ROSLI KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

THE Royal Com­mis­sion of In­quiry (RCI) into Bank Ne­gara Malaysia’s (BNM) for­eign ex­change (forex) trad­ing scan­dal of the 1990s pre­sented its find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions to the Yang di-Per­tuan Agong yes­ter­day.

“We have pre­sented our find­ings to the Yang di-Per­tuan Agong, along with our rec­om­men­da­tions and it is now up to His Majesty to take the next step,” said RCI chair­man Tan Sri Sidek Has­san af­ter his au­di­ence with the king.

He had ear­lier sub­mit­ted the 400-page re­port to the king.

Sidek de­clined to re­veal de­tails of the find­ings or the specifics of the panel’s rec­om­men­da­tions, but stressed they were within the RCI’s terms of ref­er­ence.

The RCI was es­tab­lished to probe into the forex trad­ing losses amount­ing to RM31.5 bil­lion, which took place be­tween 1985 and 1993, dur­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion of then prime min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad.

The RCI pro­ceed­ings con­cluded on Sept 19, two days ear­lier than ex­pected.

Forty-two doc­u­ments were pre­sented and the tes­ti­monies of 25 wit­nesses were recorded.

Those called in­clude Dr Ma­hathir, former fi­nance min­is­ters Datuk Seri An­war Ibrahim and Tun Daim Zain­ud­din

Former deputy gov­er­nor Tan Sri Lin See Yan, former BNM as­sis­tant gov­er­nor Datuk Ab­dul Mu­rad Khalid, former BNM ad­viser Tan Sri Nor Mo­hamed Yak­cop and former BNM gov­er­nor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz were

also heard by the panel.

Sidek, who is also the chair­man of na­tional oil firm Petro­liam Na­sional Bhd, was as­sisted by High Court judge Datuk Ka­maludin Md Said, Bursa Malaysia chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Seri Ta­jud­din Atan, Spe­cial Task Force to Fa­cil­i­tate Busi­ness (Pe­mu­dah) co-chair­man Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon and Malaysian In­sti­tute of Ac­coun­tants mem­ber K. Push­panathan dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings. The com­mis­sion’s sec­re­tary was Datuk Dr Yu­sof Is­mail. He is the Fi­nance Min­istry’s strate­gic in­vest­ment di­vi­sion di­rec­tor.

They were also present dur­ing the au­di­ence.

A key wit­ness in the pro­ceed­ings was Mu­rad.

He had claimed that An­war knew about the losses as the former had briefed him while on a flight to Hawaii in 1994.

Mu­rad also claimed that the lat­ter had re­marked that should word of the losses be made pub­lic, he would have to step down as fi­nance min­is­ter.

He also tes­ti­fied that he had in­formed then BNM gov­er­nor Tan Sri Jaa­far Hus­sein about the losses in 1992 but was “scolded” as his boss did not be­lieve him.

Mu­rad later claimed that there

was “no check and balance sys­tem” in BNM’s for­eign ex­change trad­ing at the time.

He added that de­spite a pro­hi­bi­tion on trans­ac­tions that were spec­u­la­tive in nature un­der the Cen­tral Bank of Malaysia Or­di­nance 1958, the trad­ing done in the 1980s un­til 1993 was spec­u­la­tive and a form of gam­bling.

Mu­rad had fur­ther al­leged that the losses were the “big­gest scan­dal in world bank­ing his­tory”.

He had claimed that the coverup had to be done to pro­tect BNM’s image and that of the Malaysian gov­ern­ment.

The com­mis­sion’s terms of ref­er­ence were:

TO de­ter­mine the ve­rac­ity of the al­le­ga­tion sur­round­ing the forex losses in­curred by BNM and its im­pli­ca­tions on the na­tional econ­omy;

TO de­ter­mine if the in­volve­ment of BNM in forex ac­tiv­i­ties which re­sulted in losses con­tra­vened the Cen­tral Bank Or­di­nance 1958 or other re­lated laws;

TO de­ter­mine if there were el­e­ments to con­ceal facts and in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing this as well as the is­suance of state­ments which mis­led the cabi­net, Par­lia­ment and pub­lic; and,

TO rec­om­mend ac­tions to be taken against any­one found to have been in­volved and steps to en­sure such an in­ci­dent does not re­cur.

BER­NAMA PIC

Yang di-Per­tuan Agong Sul­tan Muham­mad V read­ing the Royal Com­mis­sion of In­quiry’s re­port on Bank Ne­gara Malaysia’s for­eign ex­change trad­ing scan­dal at Is­tana Ne­gara yes­ter­day. With him is RCI chair­man Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Has­san.

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