September 24, 2012
Bank Negara Forex Losses: Mahathir protected and promoted Rogue Currency Trader Nor Mohamed Yakcop
by Stan Lee@http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim dropped a bombshell on Monday revealing that the central Bank Negara not only lost RM30 billion trading in the currency markets but that it was former premier Mahathir Mohamad who had ordered him not to punish Nor Mohamed Yakcop, who was then in charge of the bank’s treasury.
Anwar’s revelation bolsters the view that Mahathir had knowledge of and even encouraged Nor to gamble in the global markets, racking up enormous losses that made Malaysia vulnerable to the sharp slowdown of the mid- 1990s.
“Dr Mahathir ordered, ‘don’t touch him (Nor)’. The Prime Minister at the time did not agree with taking action because he said, ‘If we make profits, you praise him (Nor), when we make losses, you want to torture him’,” Anwar told a press conference in Parliament today.
Nor Mohamed had indeed shocked the international markets with his huge deals and buy-sell orders in the 1990s. In his book Malaysian Maverick, author Barry Wain (left) had also written that Mahathir knew of and encouraged Nor to speculate.
Nor Mohamad has never pointed the finger at Mahathir or implicated the older man. However, the fact that Mahathir has consistently refused to punish Nor has stirred suspicion. He even promoted Nor to Special Economic Adviser and gave him a key role to play in Malaysia’s controversial implementation of currency control measures during the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.
Anwar: No to bail out of Dr M’s sons
Anwar was responding during Question Time in Parliament this morning when DAP MP for Bagan Lim Guan Eng had asked the government to state the actual losses suffered by BNM in the foreign exchange market between 1990 and 2012.
Guan Eng also asked why Nor (right), who has been named as among those to blame for the losses, had not been punished for his role. Nor is currently a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
Anwar had then been the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister and rising fast in the esteem of the Malay electorate as well as gaining a favorable reputation with the international community for promulgating anti-corruption reforms.
His refusal to bail out crony firms including those controlled by Mahathir’s sons who fared badly during the downturn triggered his downfall. In 1999, Anwar was sacked and jailed on trumped-up sodomy charges, from which he has been acquitted.
Now the Opposition Leader, he is still the main target of attack from Mahathir and UMNO, who see him as the biggest threat to their political hegemony.
Linking Anwar to Soros
Over the weekend, Mahathir had stirred up a media storm accusing US billionaire George Soros (left) of funding several NGOs as well as the Opposition so as to control Malaysian politics and who became the next Prime minister. Malaysia is due to hold its 13th general elections, the latest by June 2013.
“How can it be a good thing? He wants to control our politics. He wants to choose his own man to be Prime Minister,” Mahathir told reporters.
While Mahathir did not mention names, it was clear he was referring to Anwar, whom he has accused of being a US spy and a stooge for Jewish interests such as Soros.
In his explanation to Parliament, Anwar said that his jurisdiction as the Finance Minister at the time had only allowed him to force Nor’s resignation from the Bank and order for his removal from any involvement in the country’s financial affairs, whether public or private.But he could not charge Nor without Mahathir’s green light.