PUTRAJAYA – Tun Daim Zainuddin said he was not informed of Bank Negara Malaysia’s alleged currency trading and resultant losses during his time as finance minister.
Testifying today before a Royal Commission of Inquiry investigating the matter, he insisted that the central bank has full autonomy despite being under the purview of the Finance Ministry.
“I’m supposed to know, but they (BNM) didn’t tell. How am I supposed to know? If they don’t tell me, how would I know?
“They were very strict and particular that they are in charge. They are experts in this field. We don’t interfere,” Daim said.
He also said he and other Cabinet members then would have acted had they knowledge of alleged wrongdoings at BNM.
BNM documents were also classified under the Official Secrets Act, Daim said to support his insistence that he was S’unaware of the entire episode.
He later told reporters that BNM had been tasked in supporting the ringgit at that time and not to trade foreign currencies that led to the alleged losses.
“Their role is to defend the ringgit, which they said in the case in London, they were defending the ringgit. That’s not in breach of the law,” he said.
“But when you go and start playing with the currency, that’s not their role.”
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 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.
– Malay mail