PUTRAJAYA – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today told the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) foreign exchange (forex) losses that the central bank’s former adviser Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop did not provide detailed information on bank’s forex transactions in the early 1990s.
Anwar, who is the 21st witness, said Nor Mohamed had exceeded the mandate given and did not give a true report of the forex transactions to him, as the then Finance Minister, and to former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said the BNM governor at that time, Tan Sri Jaffar Hussein, had came to see him and explained why he (Jaffar) agreed that Nor Mohamed should resign following the forex losses.
“I said that if he (Nor Mohamed) did not resign, I want him fired,” Anwar said in reply to conducting officer Julia Ibrahim.
Nor Mohamed resigned as BNM adviser in April 1994.
Yesterday, Nor Mohamed, in his statement, said all forex trading were carried out by the Chief Dealer and Dealers and that what they did were on his instruction.
Anwar also told the RCI that he and Dr Mahathir knew about the losses, but the former prime minister did not give any instruction regarding on the matter.
He said he and former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Clifford Francis Herbet had met with Dr Mahathir to discuss the losses, but the latter just listened to their reports without giving any instruction.
Anwar said he learned about the losses from Jaffar when he asked him (Jaffar) about BNM’s forex trading activities before the Annual Financial Report 1992 was tabled in March 1993.
“All Bank Negara Annual Financial Reports were tabled, but were not viewed seriously as everyone knew about the Plaza Accord and that the public perception was blaming it on the global situation and George Soros,” he said.
When asked repeatedly by RCI chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, who is also Petronas chairman, on whether he (Anwar) hid the actual amount of BNM losses from the Cabinet, Anwar denied the allegation.
The situation became tense as Mohd Sidek continued asking the same question to Anwar, while at the same time, both of them offered their answers on the matter.
Mohd Sidek: On April 6, 1994, the amount of losses reported to the Cabinet was only RM5.7 billion and not the actual amount of RM15.291 billion recorded in 1992.
Anwar: The letter from the Auditor-General was subject to negotiation with the BNM. I only brought to the Cabinet the results of the negotiation. The record said RM5.7 billion, so we stressed on RM5.7 billion.
Unlike other witnesses who gave their statements before being questioned by the commission, conducting officer and lawyer, Anwar gave his statement in a question-and-answer session before the commission.
Dr Mahathir was also seen attending the proceeding at 2.15 pm while Anwar gave his statement, before leaving at 4.15 pm.
The hearing continues on Monday.
Oher members of the commission are High Court judge Datuk Wira Kamaludin Md Said, Chief Executive Officer 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. – BERNAMA