Three dominant thoughts when ploughing through RCI Report on Bank Negara Forex Losses

I had three dominant thoughts when ploughing through the Royal Commission of Inquiry Report into the Bank Negara Forex Losses in the 1990s, tabled in Parliament today.

Let me share these three dominant thoughts before I have gone through the 830-page report.

Firstly, how accurate I was when I spoke in Parliament about a quarter of a century ago in 1993 and 1994 about the Bank Negara Forex Losses.

In my speech in Parliament in the debate on the Royal Address in April 1994, I estimated that the Bank Negara forex losses in the early nineties could exceed RM30 billion.

This has now been vindicated by the RCI Report, which said that the total amount of Bank Negara forex losses was RM31.5 billion – comprising RM12.35 billion in 1992, RM15.29 billion in 1993 and RM3.86 billion in 1994.

In my speech in Parliament the following month, on the debate on the 1994 Supplementary Estimates, I asked whether at the height of Bank Negara speculation in the forward foreign exchange market in 1992, Bank Negara’s maximum exposure was in the region of RM270 billion – three times the country’s GDP and more than five times the country’s foreign reserves at the time.

Today, the RCI Report said that “The average monthly maturing buy-and-sell transactions was RM149.7 billion and RM153.4 billion respectively” and “The total volume reached RM750.7 billion in February 1993.”

Secondly, how such colossal Bank Negara forex losses could have escaped the attention and responsibility of any Cabinet Minister, which had included the current Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak who was the senior Defence Minister at the time.

The RCI had recommended that an investigation be carried out to determine the responsibility and culpability of Bank Negara officials, other personalities including Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who were the Prime Minister and Finance Minister at the time. What about the responsibility and culpability of the Cabinet Ministers at the time, including Najib?

Thirdly, the most dominant thought however was what would it be like if there is a RCI Report into international multi-billion 1MDB money-laundering scandal which catapulted Malaysia into the stratosphere of a global kleptocracy.

The Bank Negara forex scandal did not cause Malaysia international infamy and ignominy as a global kleptocracy as the RCI had not found any element of corruption or personal gain in the Bank Negara Forex Losses, which is completely different story from the 1MDB scandal.

One of the RCI’s terms of reference was to determine whether there were elements of deliberate concealment of facts and information and misleading statements made to the Cabinet, Parliament and the Public regarding the Bank Negara Forex Losses.

This focusses attention on the massive charade of concealment of facts and information and misleading statements made to Cabinet, Parliament and the Malaysian Public about the 1MDB scandal when throughout the world, since the past few years, the 1MDB scandal had oftentimes made headlines highlighting its corruption and criminality.

Are all those who had concealed facts and information, and misled the Cabinet, Parliament and the Public about the 1MDB scandal, to be sent to jail?

When will there be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the 1MDB global kleptocractic scandal, to clear and cleanse Malaysia of the international infamy and ignominy of a global kleptocarcy?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah