PETALING JAYA – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he welcomes calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to be formed to probe the alleged loss of billions of ringgit by Bank Negara due to speculation in the foreign exchange (forex) market in the 1990s.
The former prime minister however claimed that the issue of forex losses was raised to divert attention away from current concerns.
“Don’t try to hide by referring to something that occurred 40 years ago,” he said.
He was responding to Umno deputy youth chief Khairul Azwan Harun’s calls for an independent probe to investigate and confirm whether Bank Negara “went bankrupt” in 1991.
Khairul Azwan said the RCI should also ensure that there was no cover-up on the issue involving losses of US$180bil (RM796bil) from forex trading exposures and forex trading losses.
Former Bank Negara assistant governor Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid was reported to have said that the central bank had suffered US$10bil (RM44bil) in losses in the forex market in the early 1990s, far higher than it had admitted.
Also present at the press conference on Tuesday was DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang who denied claims that he had made a “u-turn” with regard to the forex and Bumiputera Malaysia Finance (BMF) issues.
“I have challenged them to show how I have made a u-turn because I stand by what I have said in and outside Parliament on both these controversies,” he said, adding that he stood by his previous calls for an RCI into the scandals.