“As Lim Kit Siang had once pointed out, the scale of the gambling exposure at five times our reserves and two times our GDP then could have bankrupted Malaysia many times over should the gambling bets had gone horribly wrong”
PETALING JAYA: Three crimes may have been committed in the Bank Negara forex scandal of the 1980s and 1990s, claimed political blogger Lim Sian See.
Lim said the first crime is that Bank Negara suffered US$10bil (RM42.94bil) in foreign exchange market losses.
However, the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) would have to determine whether this was due to gambling or money siphoned out via lop-sided trade.
He said that the second crime was that the Cabinet may have been misled on the amount of the losses. The RCI, he said, would have access to classified Cabinet papers to prove it was informed that the loss was just RM5.7bil, when actually it was US$10bil.
“On top of that, they told the Cabinet that the loss was only ‘deferred expenditure’ and ‘unrealised losses’,” he said.
The third crime, Lim said, was that Parliament was misled about the losses.
He said that in 1993, Parliament was told that the story of Bank Negara losing a lot of money gambling on the forex market was a lie and mere opposition propaganda.
Then in 1994, he said, Parliament was told that Bank Negara had, indeed, lost money gambling on the forex market but that it was “just a small loss and a paper loss on top of that” and that “no money was actually paid out”.
The crimes, the political blogger said, had already happened and the RCI’s job is to gather the evidence officially.
He said the crimes had led to RM100bil losses to the country, which is never likely to be recovered.
“As Lim Kit Siang had once pointed out, the scale of the gambling exposure at five times our reserves and two times our GDP then could have bankrupted Malaysia many times over should the gambling bets had gone horribly wrong,” he said.
Lim added that Bank Negara was also severely weakened due to its depleted reserves, and this had indirectly led to the severe impact felt during the 1997-1998 economic crisis.
The Government agreed last week to form an RCI to investigate the losses.
It said that preliminary findings by the special task force, which was set up in February to look into the matter, showed that the actual losses were greater than what was reported to the Cabinet and Parliament at the time.
Bank Negara has said that it will fully cooperate in providing information as required by the law to the RCI in its investigation.
Source: The Star Online