Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP secretary-general and MP for Tanjung Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Seremban ceramah held at CRC Hall, Seremban on Sunday, April 3, 1994 at 8pm.
The government and country must take a very serious view of the Bank Negara forex losses ranging from RM16 billion to RM20 billion (the final score came to RM30 billion in the end) in the past two years, as they amount to about eight Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal losses.
The Bank Negara Governor Jaffar Hussein has taken the proper and honourable step to resign to accept full responsibility for the Bank Negara forex losses, but no ‘lesson’ would be learnt from the colossal Bank Negara forex losses unless there was a full investigation into the causes and circumstances of the losses as well as the full chain of accountability of all those who must bear responsibility- including the Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim himself.
Parliament and the nation have the right to know what actually went wrong with the management of Bank Negara and the overall supervision by the finance minister to allow the Bank Negara to commit colossal foreign exchange losses ranging from RM16 billion to RM20 billion in the past two years.
Umno Youth leader and Malacca Chief Minister Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik said that Bank Negara’s RM5.7 billion forex losses last year was caused by managerial errors of judgment and has nothing to do with the Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
Call on Anwar Ibrahim to declare whether he agrees with Rahim Thamby Chik that as finance minister, he should not be held responsible for the Bank Negara forex losses.
I call on Anwar Ibrahim to publicly state whether he agrees with Rahim Thamby Chik, that as finance minister, he should not be held responsible for the Bank Negara forex losses.
I am not very sure that I can agree with this position as after the public uproar over the 1992 Bank Negara forex losses, which ranged from RM10.1 billion to RM14 billion, Anwar Ibrahim gave an undertaking in Parliament during the emergency DAP debate last April that he would be calling up weekly reports from Bank Negara on its forex dealings.
In his reply on my motion on the Bank Negara forex losses last year, Anwar declared that the RM2.7 billion contingent liability for 1993 provided in the 1992 Bank Negara Report did not mean that the bank would lose this amount in forward foreign exchange commitments, and that Bank Negara might end with a gain or a neutral position.
It is now clear that this RM2.7 billion contingent liability for 1993 has not only been confirmed, but that even bigger forex losses had been suffered in 1993, amounting to RM5.7 billion.
Furthermore, there is in another contingent liability of RM 1.4 billion for next year- which means Bank Negara can suffer another RM1.4 billion forex losses apart from the forex losses in 1992 and 1993.
If for the past year, Anwar Ibrahim had been calling up weekly reports from Bank Negara with regard to its foreign exchange dealings, can Rahim Thamby Chik claim that the finance minister need bear no responsibility for the RM5.7 billion forex losses for 1993 and another RM1.4 billion forex losses for next year?
The Bank Negara forex losses will also be a test case of the meaning of accountability, in particularly ministerial accountability and responsibility, and this is why the government should agree to a full parliamentary debate on the Bank Negara forex losses next week.
If there is any chief minister or menteri besar who should be subject to an adult of his integrity, Rahim Thamby Chik should take the lead.
Rahim Thamby Chik is not the greatest champion of accountability in Malaysia.
The Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced in Sabah yesterday that an audit would be carried out on the past Parti Bersatu Sabah government and directed all ministers and assistant ministers of the new Sabah Barisan Nasional government to declare their assets to him.
There should not only be an audit of the PBS Sabah government, but also an audit to all Barisan Nasional state governments as well.
Rahim, for instance, has still to explain his enormous wealth and assets which are disproportionate to his known sources of income.
If there is any chief minister or menteri besar who should be subject to an audit of integrity, Rahim should take the lead.
Lim Kit Siang released this statement on April 3, 1994 and is filed under Bank Negara Scandal, BMF Loans Scandal.