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Agong assents to RCI on BNM forex scandal

A general view of the Bank Negara Malaysia headquarters in Kuala Lumpur June 30, 2017. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A general view of the Bank Negara Malaysia headquarters in Kuala Lumpur June 30, 2017. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V has formally assented today to a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the foreign exchange losses suffered by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in the 1980s and 1990s.

In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the Agong approved the RCI effective July 15, under the Commissions of Enquiry Act 1950, or Act 119.

Petronas chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan who headed the special task force (STF) on the scandal has been named as the RCI’s chairman.

Other members of the RCI included High Court judge Datuk Kamaludin Md Said, Bursa Malaysia chief executive Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan, Special Task force to Facilitate Business (Pemudah) co-chairman Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon, and Malaysian Institute of Accountants member Pushpanathan S. A. Kanagarayar.

Finance Ministry’s Datuk Yusof Ismail will act as the commission’s secretary.

PMO said Sidek and Saw’s appointments were made to preserve continuity between the STF and the RCO, while the rest were appointed based on their qualifications and experiences in matters relevant to the RCI.

Among others, the RCI will ascertain the facts and figures about the scandal, BNM’s alleged involvement in it and the possibility of a cover-up, and recommending any suitable actions against those found to be directly or indirectly involved.

On June 21, the STF submitted its findings, concluding that it found that a prima facie case existed to merit in-depth investigations by establishing an RCI.

The STF formed in February found that actual losses were greater than what was previously presented to former ministers and Parliament.

The STF also discovered that facts of the case had been obfuscated through the presentation of misleading information to ministers and lawmakers previously.

The scandal was among the biggest when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister but remained unresolved till he resigned in October 2003.

Pakatan Harapan leaders had last month accused the formation of the RCI as a political ploy against Dr Mahathir, who has now been named the pact’s chairman.

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