The Special Affairs Department (Jasa), the government’s propaganda arm, has accused former Bank Negara adviser Nor Mohamed Yakcop of trying to protect then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad over the forex scandal.
Weighing in on the ongoing royal commission of inquiry (RCI), Jasa director-general Mohd Puad Zarkashi also questioned whether Nor Mohamed was taking up the role of a scapegoat.
Puad was referring to Nor Mohamed’s testimony to the RCI on the losses suffered by Bank Negara in the forex market from the late 1980s to the early 1990s.
“He admitted responsibility for the huge losses, but denied that he was solely responsible for decisions on forex trading by Bank Negara.
“Does it mean other people are involved? Who are they? What is certain was Nor Mohamed avoided implicating the then prime minister (Mahathir) and finance minister (Anwar Ibrahim),” said Puad.
Puad, who signed off the Jasa statement as ‘Umno supreme council member’, said the issue was why the real losses suffered by Bank Negara was not the same as that which had purportedly been reported to the cabinet at that time.
Yesterday, RCI chairperson Mohd Sidek Hassan engaged in a heated argument with Anwar, who was testifying at the hearing, accusing him of not reporting the real losses to the cabinet.
However, Anwar said Mohd Sidek was “insinuating” and stressed that his reports to the cabinet were based on what he had received from Bank Negara officials.
The reported losses were RM5.7 billion, but during the RCI proceedings Mohd Sidek claimedthe real losses were estimated to be at RM32 million.
“It is impossible that Nor Mohamed made the decision alone, and it is also impossible that he did not receive instructions from above,” said Puad in the Jasa statement.
Puad questioned if Nor Mohamed was trying to show gratitude to Mahathir for bringing him back by appointing him as a finance adviser during the Asian financial crisis of 1997.
“The issue is the people had been lied to.
“Nor Mohamed should not, just because he was given another opportunity to serve as finance adviser to the prime minister during the financial crisis of 1997/98, be willing to become a scapegoat, thereby hiding the facts about the financial scandal that had cost the country tens of billions,” he claimed.