Probe into 1990s forex losses


(The Star) – The Cabinet is setting up a task force to initiate an investigation into foreign exchange losses by Bank Negara in the 1990s.

Besides ascertaining the cause and actual quantum of losses, it will determine if there was any misconduct in the financial administrative procedures.

“It will also ascertain if certain parties tried to cover up what really happened,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement yesterday.

The taskforce will comprise various government agencies, including distinguished and experienced individuals from various fields.

“This is the first step to gather all the related facts – analyse the Parliament’s Hansard reports, the minutes of the Cabinet meetings, Auditor-General’s reports, Bank Negara Malaysia and other reports from related agencies,” it said.

It said the taskforce would then forward its proposal and recommendations to the Cabinet for further action.

The Cabinet, it said, would look into setting up a Royal Commission of Inquiry if the findings warranted it.

“This goes to show the Government’s commitment in ensuring transparency to ascertain if Bank Negara was governed accordingly.

“The Government will always be open and transparent in the investigations as it involved Bank Negara and said to be the biggest financial scandal,” it said.

Former Bank Negara assistant governor Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid was reported to have claimed that the central bank suffered US$10bil in forex market losses in the early 1990s, far higher than it had admitted.

Abdul Murad had also questioned why no one was investigated or charged over the losses.

On Feb 8, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin had said that the Cabinet would decide whether an official inquiry should be launched on the alleged losses.

Khairy was asked to comment on whether a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) was necessary to look into the Bank Negara forex losses.

Among those who had called for the RCI were Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak and Umno Youth deputy chief Khairul Azwan Harun.