PUTRAJAYA – Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) director in the foreign exchange management department told the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) that former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad never entered the forex trading room.
Azman Mat Ali, 54, responded “he never did” to a question by Dr Mahathir’s lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla on whether Dr Mahathir did enter the trading room (in London) when he (Azman) was carrying out the forex trading.
On a question whether Azman was based in Bank Negara office in London when Dr Mahathir officiated the opening of forex trading room in London, he said the event was held several years before he was posted as a dealer in the London office.
He said as a dealer at that time he carried out the dealings on instructions by the Chief Dealer and Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, who was then Bank Negara’s adviser.
“Apart from reporting to Nor Mohamed and the chief dealer, nobody knew the extent of the forex trading,” he said.
He also told the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) that he did not recall whether any VIP, Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister had come to see him.
Azman, the 18th witness, said he had carried out foreign exchange transactions on the instructions of Nor Mohamed which could exceed USD1 billion a day.
When reading his statement, he said he could not answer if it was said that the foreign exchange business transactions carried out by the dealers were speculative in nature or a form of gambling.
“I have no comment on the allegation by Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid (former BNM Assistant Governor) that the foreign exchange transactions carried out by Bank Negara Malaysia from 1990 to 1994 were speculative and a form of gambling.
“I only carried out forex transactions on instruction from the chief,” he said at the proceedings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the losses suffered by BNM in foreign exchange transactions by BNM in the 1990s.
Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan who is Petronas chairman, chaired the five-man panel.
The other members of the commission are High Court judge Datuk Wira Kamaludin Md Said, Chief Executive Officer of Bursa Malaysia Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan, Co-Chairman Special Task Force to facilitate Business (Pemudah) Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon and Malaysian Institute of Accountants member K. Puspanathan.
On July 15 this year, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong approved the formation of the Commission to inquire into losses incurred by Bank Negara Malaysia due to foreign exchange dealings in the 1990’s based on the Commissions of Enquiry Act.
The RCI panel must complete its inquiry and submit its report to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by October 13.