RCI needed as forex scandal still hurting ringgit, say former BNM officials


Source: The Malay Mail Online

Bank Negara Malaysia — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 ― Repercussions from Bank Negara Malaysia’s foreign exchange over two decades ago remain until today, said two former officials in support of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the matter.

According to Utusan Malaysia, former BNM economic department senior manager Dr Rosli Yaakop and former assistant governor Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid both said the central bank would have more reserves to prop up the ringgit now were it not for the scandal that allegedly cost the bank US$10 billion in the 1990s.

Murad yesterday also asserted that the amount could have appreciated to RM100 billion today based on a 4-per cent annual interest rate.

“The impact from this scandal has been prolonged and can be felt until now, so it is critical that a RCI is formed. BNM had lost a chunk of its reserve due to the forex activity back then,” Rosli reportedly said.

The ringgit is currently trading at 4.30 to the US dollar.

Rosli further said that forming an RCI would be incomplete if former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin are not called to explain the scandal.

Putrajaya last week announced that it would be setting up an RCI to look into the forex losses that took place in 1990s, with losses estimated to be between RM30 billion to RM100 billion.