KUALA LUMPUR – The Cabinet will look into the allegation by a former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) official that the central bank lost almost US$10 billion in a foreign currency trading scandal in the 90s, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.
He said the government takes the accusation seriously, but will wait for explanation from the central bank first before deciding on the next course of action.
“We view the allegation seriously. But we will wait for Bank Negara’s explanation first and then the Cabinet will decide on what to do,” Najib, who is also Umno chief, told reporters after holding his party’s monthly supreme council meeting here.
State-owned New Straits Times today published an interview with former BNM assistant governor Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid in which he claimed that the central bank suffered foreign exchange losses of US$10 billion in the early 1990s.
The scandal took place under the leadership of then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
BNM immediately responded by saying it has moved forward stronger with better transparency and accountability since the scandal took place 25 years ago.
It then stressed that now is the time to focus on aiding the country’s economic recovery.
“Under the current challenging and uncertain global environment, it is important that we focus on ensuring our financial system and the economy remain resilient and stable,” it added.
Dr Mahathir recently made headlines again after a United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) declassified report said that his administration might be linked to the Bumiputera Malaysia Finance Limited (BMF) scandal in the 1980s.
The former prime minister has since downplayed the report, saying that it did not directly link himself to the scandal, and was merely a normal information paper for the US government back then.
– Malay Mail