KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah today denied he was offered the post of Bank Negara Malaysia Governor, accusing US-based Wall Street Journal of falsely claiming he would head the central bank.
The Treasury secretary-general’s remarks came after the prime minister’s press secretary Datuk Seri Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad similarly accused the newspaper of “lying” in its reports that claimed Irwan had been chosen to succeed Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz.
“I was never offered the post of Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, as the Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report have repeatedly claimed. His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong never signed my appointment as Governor, as is alleged.
“These are outright lies with absolutely no basis. These foreign media should stop their attacks on Malaysia,” Irwan said in a statement today
Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim was yesterday named as the replacement for the retiring Zeti, who is leaving after 16 years at the head of BNM.
He was the deputy governor up until his appointment, and his selection was consistent with Zeti’s call for her successor to be someone with a financial and banking background instead of a politician.
WSJ previously reported based on anonymous sources that Irwan, who is Treasury secretary-general, would be made the next BNM governor.
The newspaper today responded to allegations that its reporting was based on uncorroborated details from anonymous sources and Tengku Sarifuddin’s claim that it was being used as tool to depose Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“We stand behind our fair and accurate reporting of this evolving story which has in no way been undermined by recent events, and remain committed to providing robust coverage of events in Malaysia,” a Dow Jones spokesman told Malay Mail Online.
Dow Jones is the publisher of the WSJ.
The US paper has reported extensively on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) since last year and was the first to reveal the RM2.6 billion deposited in Najib’s accounts prior to Election 2013.