Why is the Bank Negara Forex Losses Cabinet Task Force so keen to question Anwar but the Bank Negara Forex Losses RCI so afraid to summon Anwar, who was Finance Minister at the relevant period, to testify?
One question swirling in the minds of informed Malaysians is why the Cabinet Task Force on Bank Negara Forex Losses half-a-century ago was so keen to question Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim but the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Bank Negara Forex Losses is so afraid to summon Anwar, although Anwar was Finance Minister during a major part of the relevant period being investigated by the RCI –and especially when the Chairman of both probes is the same person!
Anwar’s statement from Sungai Buloh prison makes sad reading for Malaysians who had expected the RCI into the Bank Negara forex losses to function professionally and operate with full accountability and transparency.
Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s cautionary warning today to the RCI on Bank Negara Forex Losses is particularly pertinent in the light of Anwar’s complaints – that the RCI tasked with investigating foreign exchange losses suffered by Bank Negara over two decades ago must follow proper procedures to ensure it does not “blacken” the image of the monarchy.
Mahathir said the image of the monarchy was at stake, as it gives a certain image that is linked to the position of the rulers, and as such a royal commission must follow the rules and regulations and procedures that will not affect the image of royalty, in particular, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Mahathir said: "I feel that the commission would always be mindful of that, and the expectation is that they will not, in any way, blacken the image of the royalty because it is a royal commission, not a police commission or something like that.”
Anwar has expressed concern for not being able to attend the ongoing Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) hearing on Bank Negara's foreign exchange losses.
Noting that his name had cropped up several times during testimonies, Anwar said that his lawyers have made numerous requests for him to attend the RCI to no avail.
As Anwar qualifies as a person “in any way implicated or concerned in the matter under enquiry” under section 18 of the Commission of Enquiry Act 1950, why is the RCI so shy or reluctant to announce that Anwar would definitely be called as a witness where Anwar would also be able to answer all the charges and insinuations made against him by other witnesses at the RCI.
I fully endorse Anwar’s complaint that it was unfair that witnesses could provide testimonies that were detrimental to his credibility while he had no avenue to defend himself, especially as Anwar has lost his personal freedom incarcerated in Sungai Buloh Prison.
Former Bank Negara assistant governor Abdul Murad Khalid, in his testimony to the RCI on Monday, claimed that Anwar told him in 1994 he would need to resign as finance minister if the actual losses were made public.
In his statement today, Anwar denied this, calling it a “malicious insinuation” that he had implied on the need for a cover-up.
At the end of Monday’s RCI, its first day of the hearing, the RCI Chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan concluded that the actual Bank Negara forex losses were RM31.5 billion and this was not reflected in Bank Negara's reports.
How could the RCI come to such a conclusion when the full RCI hearings of evidence and testimonies had only entered into its first day?