I will appear next week before the special task force investigating the Bank Negara forex losses in 1990s

I will appear next week before the special task force investigating the Bank Negara forex losses between 1991 and 1993.

The seven-member task force, headed by Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, who is former chief secretary to the government, also comprise Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission deputy chief commissioner Datuk Azam Baki, Police Commercial Crimes Department director Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, Securities Commission Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh, Retirement Fund Inc chief executive officer Datuk Wan Kamaruzaman Wan Ahmad, Pemudah co-chairman Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon, and lawyer Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos.

The task force, which was set up by the Cabinet in mid-February, is living proof of the negligence and irresponsibility of the first degree of the Cabinet Ministers when they could set up a special task force (STF) to conduct a probe into Bank Negara forex losses more than two decades ago but dare not breathe a word on the monstrous 1MDB kleptocratic money-laundering scandal.

For instance, was the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is directly implicated in the 1MDB kleptocratic scandal, the final authority in approving the 1MDB-IPIC “arbitration settlement” and who overruled the Finance Minister, Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani who was convinced and confident that 1MDB would win the arbitration case in the London International Arbitration Court based on documentary and legal grounds?

Did any of the Cabinet Minister suggest that the Prime Minister should recuse and should not be involved in any further decision-making making process about the 1MDB scandal, as the Prime Minister is directly implicated in the 1MDB scandal?

United States President Trump’s government has provided two examples of such recusals – Attorney-General Jeff Sessions who has recused himself from any investigation into Trump’s campaign in view of his earlier contact with the Russian Ambassador in 2016; and the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who recused himself from decisions related to the Keystone XL oil pipeline because he was former CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp, which had a vested interest in the pipeline project.

Surely, Malaysia’s commitment to ethics and good governance principles are not inferior to Trump’s administration in the United States?

Was the Cabinet’s approval sought for the 1MDB–IPIC “arbitration settlement”, and if so, did any of the Cabinet sought answers to the teeming questions swirling around the “arbitration settlement”, including:

  • Why Malaysians have now to pay IPIC more than double what was actually borrowed by 1MDB?
  • Where did the money paid by 1MDB go?
  • Will taxpayers foot 1MDB’s US$1.2b settlement with IPIC?
  • Who is buying the 1MDB ‘units’?
  • Is Malaysia fast becoming a rogue state in today’s international society?

After the Cabinet decision to set up the Special Task Force into Bank Negara forex losses in the 1990s, Umno information chief Datuk Seri Annuar Musa announced that Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties will be going on a nationwide roadshow to inform the public about the special task force.

I volunteered to speak at the UMNO/BN nation-wide roadshow on the Cabinet’s decision to set up special task force to probe Bank Negara’s forex losses more than two decades ago, but I have heard nothing about my offer or about the roadshow. What has happened to them?

I am prepared to assist the special task force set up to probe the foreign exchange losses incurred by Bank Negara more than two decades ago but what accountability and good governance principles are we talking about when we are blind to the elephant in the room – the 1MDB money-laundering scandal which had brought infamy and ignominy to Malaysia as a “global kleptocrarcy”?

In fact, if the Najib administration is sincere about accountability and good governance principles and not set on a vendetta frolic, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop should resign or be sacked or suspended as Khazanah Nasional Bhd Deputy Chairman.

This is because Nor Mohamed Yakcop was the chief operator of Bank Negara’s forex speculation which resulted in colossal losses which could total some RM30 billion.

Former Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had said that Nor Mohamaed Yakcop was complicit in the Bank Negara forex losses in early 1990s when the latter was then a senior Bank Negara official.

He said that as Finance Minister at the time, he had asked for Nor’s resignation but this was not allowed.

In fact, I had referred to Nor’s role in the Bank Negara forex losses in my speeches in Parliament on the issue in 1993 and 1994, referring to the massive forex speculation by Bank Negara in the forward foreign exchange market where at its height, Bank Negara’s maximum exposure could be in the region of RM270 billion – three times the country’s GDP and more than five times the country’s foreign reserve at the time!

More than 20 years have elapsed, but Nor Mohd Yakcop, who was the chief operator in the Bank Negara forex speculation in the early 1990s and the person responsible for the Bank Negara’s colossal losses, owes it to the nation and Malaysians to make a clean breast of what he did more than two decades ago – and not just to the Cabinet special task force.

I stand by my speech in Parliament in April 1994 calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the colossal Bank Negara forex losses, with the following tasks:

  • to ascertain whether Bank Negara’s forex losses since 1992 could exceed RM30 billion;
  • to ascertain whether there had been any financial malpractices and abuses in view of the inconsistencies and conflicting explanations about the colossal forex losses; and
  • to establish as to how the Bank Negara could incur such colossal losses.

But what is more urgent and imperative now is a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the 1MDB scandal.

Is such a RCI into the 1MDB scandal only possible if there is a change of Federal Government in the 14th General Election?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah