Why Bank Negara failed to act on Nazir Razak?

 |Jan 18, 2017
Nazir Razak.
Nazir Razak.

On April 1, 2016, the Singapore Straits Times reported: Nazir ‘received, then disbursed funds from Najib’s bank account’, says WSJ.

This was what was reported:
“Prominent banker Nazir Razak, who has been critical of the state of Malaysia’s institutions and politics, has found himself embroiled in a financial scandal swirling around his brother, Prime Minister Najib Razak.”

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Nazir received US$7 million (S$9.4 million) transferred into his account from his older brother’s, and the money was then disbursed to Umno politicians ahead of the 2013 general election (GE13).

The newspaper said that Nazir, who was chief executive of CIMB at the time, confirmed in a statement that the money was distributed in accordance with instructions from party leaders.

He also said he believed the money was from donations he helped to raise from Malaysian companies and individuals for the election.

Then, on April 18, 2016, New Straits Times reported: Nazir takes leave of absence from CIMB pending board review.

Exactly a month later, on May 18, 2016, Reuters reported:
“CIMB chairman Nazir Razak to resume duties after review into money transfers.”

The report said: “Nazir Razak, the brother of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, will resume his duties as the chairman of CIMB Group Holdings Bhd after an independent review found that he had not misused his position at the bank in transferring political funds from his personal account.”

No action

Did Bank Negara do nothing because Nazir is the prime minister’s brother?

Yes, an internal inquiry was held and they found Nazir innocent.

But why an internal inquiry?

Should Bank Negara not be the one to conduct the investigation?

Nazir had admitted guilt.

Yet the internal inquiry said he was innocent.

Still Bank Negara did nothing.

Should Bank Negara not have asked Nazir to resign from his post since he was morally guilty although not legally guilty?

Did Bank Negara do nothing because Nazir is Najib’s brother or is it because they lack the guts and moral fibre?

By doing nothing, it demonstrates Bank Negara’s tendency for selective prosecution and it looks bad on the bank.

Nazir was involved in distributing political funds.

He is nothing but a bagman.

But when caught he takes leave and, one month later, after an internal inquiry is held, he was declared clean and comes back to office.

Drama

Bank Negara did not say a word about this.

Bank Negara may have wanted to save Nazir mainly because he was the prime minister’s brother but was Bank Negara not interested in saving the bank rather than an individual who has clearly done something immoral – even if they tell us that being immoral was not illegal.

As far as most people are concerned this so-called one-month leave and internal inquiry is all just a drama.

Bank Negara has the power to act, which the previous Governor Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz has proven so.

So why not act?

By refusing to act and by sweeping this whole thing under the carpet gives the impression that Najib interfered in the whole thing and that Nazir was let off because he is the prime minister’s brother and that it was the prime minister who let him off.

1MDB

1MDB

At the very least Nazir should resign and not stay and talk so much about this, that and the other – the way Mahathir talks about fighting corruption after stealing RM100 billion of the taxpayers’ money.

“1MDB scandal and lack of trust necessitates NCC2, says Nazir,” reported Malaysiakini yesterday.

In that news report, Malaysiakini said:
“The lack of trust in the federal government and its key institutions due to the 1MDB controversy have made the convening of a second National Consultative Council (NCC2) more urgent, said CIMB Group chairperson Nazir Razak.”

Nazir, who mooted the establishment of NCC2 in September last year, said the 1MDB controversy had led to an intensification in the competition for power, exposing Malaysia’s ethnic fault lines further.

“Politicians will be tempted to resort to extremes, and in our case, amplify our racial and religious differences. At that point it becomes dangerous, as we have witnessed in the past.”

Nazir makes it sound like the entire problem with the country is centred around just one issue: 1MDB.

Solve that one issue and everything is solved and Malaysians would be the happiest people in the world.

Solve 1MDB and DAP would not get a single Chinese vote and the 90% Chinese voters who voted opposition in the previous two general elections would abandon DAP and the DAP-led opposition and would would vote Umno and the Umno-led Barisan Nasional.

Nazir must have been appointed the chief executive officer and executive director of CIMB not because of his brains but because he was the son of second Prime Minister Abdul Razak Hussein and the brother of current Prime Minister Najib if this was the way he thinks and talks.

What Nazir said was precisely the same thing as what Mahathir Mohamad, DAP and Pakatan Harapan say as well.

Actually the whole problem is not about 1MDB.

Even if Najib does what they all say – which is ‘solve’ 1MDB, whatever that means – that was not going to change anything.

These people do not hate the Malay-Umno-led Barisan Nasional government because of 1MDB.

They already hate the Malay-Umno-led Barisan Nasional government.

They are just using 1MDB as the excuse to justify their hate and so that they can give the impression that their hate of the Malay-Umno-led Barisan Nasional government was noble and justified.

Former Bank Negara Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz.
Former Bank Negara Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

NCC2

In September last year, Nazir said that the Second National Consultative Council or NCC2 needs to be set up under the auspices of the Council of Rulers.

The first NCC was set up in 1970 after the 1969 race riots, an incident labelled as the darkest period in Malaysian history.

Is Nazir insinuating that Malaysia was now going through the second darkest period in Malaysian history, and while the first one was the May 13 race riots the second one is 1MDB (meaning 1MDB is equivalent to May 13)?

Actually, the trust deficit that people like Nazir are talking about is because of cases like his where he admits to using his bank to distribute political funds and yet nothing happens because Bank Negara keeps quiet and sits on their hands when instead they should have asked Nazir to resign. – Malaysia Today

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Raja Petra Kamarudin or RPK, cousin to the Selangor Sultan, is one of Malaysia's earliest online 'citizen journalists'. He started his website in 1995 before the internet 'explosion' triggered by the Reformasi movement in September 1998. Malaysia Today was launched as a blog in August 2004 and is one of the few pioneer blogs still active and posting articles on a daily basis 24-7. RPK, 66 years old, has been writing since 1990.