KUALA LUMPUR – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he believed Bank Negara Malaysia’s alleged currency trading losses to be RM5 billion as he was so informed by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and a Finance Ministry official.
The former prime minister told the Royal Commission of Inquiry today that Anwar, who was finance minister at the time, and Tan Sri Clifford F. Herbert (then Finance Ministry secretary-general) verbally told him the information during a meeting.
“I do not recall the figure RM30 billion being mentioned. What I recall is that the figure was in the range of RM5 billion stated,” he said.
Dr Mahathir added that he also knew the extent of BNM’s losses prior to the meeting with Anwar and Herbert as Anwar had already briefed Parliament that the central bank had lost RM5.7 billion in the currency market.
He also said no documentation on the losses incurred by BNM was ever furnished to him beyond Anwar’s explanation.
The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman asserted that as prime minister then, he had no legal authority to directly interfere with the central bank’s activities unless there was a pressing need.
“The BNM board of directors have the responsibility to all policy and administrative issues relating to the power and dealings of BNM,” he said, adding that he never interfered with the central bank.
In his scathing witness statement, the nonagenarian also took aim at the RCI panel, claiming that the whole inquiry was designed to portray him as the mastermind of the scandal.
Dr Mahathir further accused the federal government of orchestrating the inquiry as reprisal for his continued criticism of the administration.
– Malay Mail