Dr M indifferent when briefed about forex losses, ex-MOF official claims

A witness testified that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did not react negatively when briefed about Bank Negara Malaysia’s foreign exchange loss. — File picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A witness testified that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did not react negatively when briefed about Bank Negara Malaysia’s foreign exchange loss. — File picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 30 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did not react negatively when he was briefed about Bank Negara Malaysia having potentially lost RM30 billion in foreign exchange trading, former Finance Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Clifford Francis Herbert said today.

In his testimony at the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the losses incurred in the 1990s, Clifford said that he was present as then deputy secretary-general along with then finance minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim when they briefed Dr Mahathir on the losses.

“He responded after the briefing by saying: sometimes we make profits and sometimes we make losses,” Clifford said during his testimony.

“I expected him to show more outrage, but he took it in his stride. He looked quite normal,” he added.

Clifford said that the estimations regarding the forex losses were based on his own calculations after he was instructed by Anwar to find out more about the extent of the losses.

Meanwhile, former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Kassim, who also appeared as a witness today, said the board of governors for the central bank did not set any rules regarding forex trading.

“By after looking at the internal audit regarding the forex losses, the board regretted that no proper supervision was put in place for the trading activities,” he said.

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