KUALA LUMPUR – Political blogger Lim Sian See today claimed that three crimes may have been committed in the Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) alleged foreign exchange (forex) market losses in the early 1990s.
The first crime he said was that BNM suffered a US$10bil (RM42.94bil) losses, adding that the newly-established Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) would have to determine two things.
“Whether it was pure gambling (which is wrong and breached all sorts of governance laws) or some has been siphoned out via lop-sided trades, the RCI team will have to uncover.
“Second crime, the Cabinet was misled. The RCI will have access to classified Cabinet papers to prove the Cabinet was informed that the loss was just RM5.7 billion when actually it was USD10 billion.
“On top of that, they told the Cabinet that the loss was only ‘deferred expenditure’ and ‘unrealised losses’,” he said in a statement.
Lim further claimed that the Dewan Rakyat was told that the story of BNM losing a lot of money from gambling on the forex market was a lie and that it was a propaganda created by the opposition.
According to him, the then government led by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had told the Parliament that it was only a “small loss”.
“It is important to note that these crimes had led to a RM100 billion loss to our country today – none of which is ever likely to be recovered.
“BNM was also severely weakened from the depleted reserves and indirectly led to a more severe 1997-1998 economic crisis that destroyed so many companies, jobs and lives,” Lim added.
The forex scandal made headlines again after the New Straits Times published an interview with former Bank Negara assistant governor, Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid in which he claimed the Bank Negara has suffered foreign exchange losses of US$10 billion in the early 1990s.
Just a few days prior, the media reported about the declassified United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) papers which linked Dr Mahathir’s administration to the BMF scandal in the 1980s.
Mahathir 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.