Anwar kept forex losses a secret to avoid losing job as Finance Minister, RCI told

BY KAMLES KUMAR

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 21 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim knew about the Bank Negara Malaysia’s forex losses but ordered it to be kept a secret, the bank’s former deputy governor said today.

Datuk Abdul Murad, who was then the BNM advisor revealed that in 1994 he was directed to explain the matter to Anwar after he had raised the financial losses to former BNM Governor Tan Sri Jaffar Hussein.

Anwar was Finance Minister at the time of the forex scandal.

Abdul Murad said that Anwar had subsequently invited him on a trip to Hawaii, US, to explain the matter and was told to keep mum about it.

“Anwar invited me to join him on his flight to Hawaii to explain on the Forex losses as ordered by Jaffar. I explained to Anwar and he said he understands the losses and will be discussing with Jaffar about it.

“Anwar also commented that if the actual losses are revealed to the public, he would need to step down as Finance Minister,” Murad said in today’s inquiry, held at the Palace of Justice court complex here.

Murad also said that two years prior to that, he had already briefed about the losses to Jaffar but the latter had refused to believe him.

He added that BNM also had “no policies” to govern over forex dealings as well as there was no “check and balance” in place to prevent any misappropriation.

Other than Murad, two other BNM staff Datuk Ahmad Hizzad Baharuddin and Abdul Aziz Abdul Manaf also testified.

The RCI panel, which has been given five terms of reference, has to complete its inquiry and submit its report to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong within three months by the scheduled date of October 13.

The panel includes commission’s chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, Special Task Force to Facilitate Business co-chairman Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon, High Court judge Datuk Wira Kamaludin Md Said, Bursa Malaysia Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan and Malaysian Institute of Accountants member K Pushpanathan.

The five terms of reference include determining the validity of the claim that losses have been incurred by BNM due to foreign exchange dealings in the 1990s and its impact on the country’s economy; and determining whether BNM’s foreign exchange dealings which incurred losses had breached the Central Bank Ordinance 1958 or other relevant laws.