Governor Zeti Aziz –Where is Integrity?

April 26, 2016

Bank Negara Malaysia: Questions for Zeti Aziz –Where is Integrity?

by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee

If I can anyway contribute to the diversion or improvement of the country in which I live, I shall leave it, when I am summoned out of it, with the satisfaction of thinking that I have not lived in vain.Stephen Grellet

Did the much quoted line attributed to Grellet (he escaped from execution during the French Revolution and went on to a new life as a Quaker reformer in the United States) run through Governor Zeti Aziz’s mind when her staff in Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), monitoring the suspicious movement of unusual sums of money making their way through the nation’s banking system, drew her attention to the enormous funds making its way surreptitiously into the country through the Prime Minister’s personal account?

Leaving Bank Negara (Central Bank) Malaysia with a severely battered reputation

Perhaps she had been alerted by the Prime Minister himself earlier. So it may not have come as a surprise. It is possible that she told her staff : “Don’t worry; I am taking care of the matter myself”.

What is the explanation for the internationally lauded BNM’s top official’s inaction or inability to respond to what in any other part of the world would have triggered off alarm bells on the possibility of money laundering, and other concerns of illegal money transfer and corrupt practices arising from a massive and unprecedented deposit from abroad into the nation’s banking system?

It could not have been because of ignorance, negligence, oversight or incompetence. Then what? Only Governor Zeti can answer that. Zeti, and BNM, have on numerous occasions stressed the importance of ensuring the integrity of the country’s financial system.

In its latest press statement on cyber security BNM said that “it continuously reviews and enhances the resiliency of its control measures, governance and adopts best practices which involves robust defence mechanisms with timely transactions monitoring”.

In Accord with International Best Practice?

According to foreign reports, between opening his account at AmBank on January 13, 2011 and April 10, 2013, Mr. Najib received a total of more than $US1 billion — or, more precisely, $US1,050,795,451.58 — including a series of individual deposits that ranged between $US9 million and $US70 million. So much money was flowing into the account that it is supposed to have triggered money laundering alarm bells in AmBank which is part-owned by Australia’s ANZ Bank


The initial money transfers would probably have been made known to Zeti perhaps even before their actual movement was effected. And discreet approval may have been granted well in advance. Nobody in his or her right mind would attempt to receive such hefty sums without making sure that the banking authorities will approve. Besides, the country’s gossip mill is notoriously tireless on money matters so that it would have been crucial that the transaction should remain a secret.

Najib Razak–A Leader of Unimpeachable Integrity?

Perhaps Zeti decided to close one or both eyes to the transfer because she was convinced that the Prime Minister is a leader of unimpeachable integrity doing the best for his country. And following the wisdom of Grellet, since she is passing through the world but once, her act of kindness towards Najib would be recognized for its goodness.

The Prime Minister may have confided to Zeti that the enormous sum deposited in his account was a personal donation from a member or members of the Saudi Royal Family. He may also have explained why the donation was made and what it was to be used for.

Zeti may have agreed that it was in the national interest that the deposit be permitted without the need for investigation, clearance or publicity; and that it was best to keep it as hush-hush as possible in view of the misgivings and misconceptions that would arise if the news was ever leaked.

Various versions of the use of the money and its intentions have now emerged. They include:

  • helping the Prime Minister win the 2013 elections by paying off politicians and projects

  • enlisting Malaysia’s help in the fight against ISIS

  • influencing the direction of the country’s Islamic development by keeping it firmly anchored with the Saudi-led Wahhabi camp

We can only speculate which is the correct one that persuaded Zeti to jettison the independence from political influence and other values and ethics that Bank Negara and other central bank authorities are supposed to swear allegiance to.

Was it to ensure victory for the Prime Minister beleagured by forces of bad intention and chaos from within? Or was it to help Najib preserve Malaysia’s standing as a moderate Islamic nation and to defeat the forces of evil and darkness from outside?

Zeti has not directly responded to the many questions asked of the personal donation as well as of the 1MDB scandal. She has left it to her mainly UMNO defenders who have brushed off accusations that she failed in her duty as the chief regulator of Malaysia’s financial system and financial adviser to the Government. Also the accusations that she is guilty of partisanship in the country’s politics, complicity in money laundering, and perhaps also looking after her own interests by striking a deal with a tainted regime in view of her husband’s alleged involvement in a corruption scandal and other alleged shady family businesses.

Because questions and accusations remain unanswered, Zeti will be leaving office with her reputation, and that of Bank Negara, damaged and tarnished.

But we may not need to wait long for some light to emerge. The links between 1MDB, where the official story line is unraveling rapidly and the personal donation are like a hydra. Official stonewalling and whitewashing may temporarily decapitate one of the heads but another soon re-emerges.

And hopefully, soon, Zeti Aziz’s part in the personal ” donation” scandal, and possibly also the 1MDB debacle, will become more clear to all even if she chooses to remain silent. Silence is not golden.

17 thoughts on “Governor Zeti Aziz –Where is Integrity?

  1. This also was hushed. Maybe Zeti got “experience” from it on how to handle matters……

    A fool and his money gets top Malaysian rating
    No one had heard of Dr Adrian Ong and his wealth until he decided to make public in a routine press announcement of LOFSA granting CiBT a banking licence in Labuan. A former Malaysian journalist in Sydney, Mr Ganesh Sahathevan, investigated it further, and came up with a can of worms. Dr Ong, RAM and LOFSA, after holding their ground, now refuses to answer his queries, as more damaging information of Dr Ong’s background and spin emerges.

    Now more serious questions must be asked. Is he fronting for Malaysian parties so powerful that RAM and LOFSA are reduced to do what he asks for? Or for non-Malaysian sources? Which leads to yet another. Was it an attempt at money laundering? To protect their reputation, would RAM and LOFSA reverse its ruling? Or at least check with the Australian regulatory authorities if CiBT is what it claims to be, and what its network in Australia is? A decade ago, Dr Ong was a business facilitator. If he controls funds as he insists he does, why does he operates out of a business service centre, whose secretaries assume the persona of Dr Ong’s secretary if someone calls for him? Or was it a scam? As more questions are raised, he ignores them or is now remarkably tongue-tied.
    So, is Dr Ong acting for powerful Malaysian political and commercial interests? Why are RAM and LOFSA so defensive about CiBT? To help some launder their money for they know that their future is moot after Dr Mahathir’s retirement in October? More questions would arise if a definitive answer is not forthcoming of Dr Ong’s source of funds. Or has this come to the surface in this belief that no one dares challenge anyone like Dr Ong because he is protected by the rich and powerful. And convinced when push comes to shove, even RAM and LOFSA would care not for their reputation, such as it is, and do what is demanded of them. It gets murkier by the day.

    When US bombs kill children/women in overseas country they are referred to as COLLATERAL DAMAGE.
    The ALMIGHTY may be showing his displeasure on humans via the many disasters which Leaders/Professionals call it natural disasters even when the cause is the greed of the leaders.

    The leaders tell the poor who are used to suffering and will continue to do so and are told that it is their own fault without admitting without shame that it is the worldwide wanton greed of the leaders who are responsible for the inequality of incomes.

    The 2015 movie titled THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHS has explained in detail how the leaders from politics to corporate and professional disciplines colluded to swindle the ordinary citizens including in so-called developed advanced countries.

  3. Without fear n favour is for peoples who do no wrong. Like the past Lord President. Rather be dismiss than to bow his head.

  4. She has to cari makan, no?
    She has a Phd in Economics from The Wharton School of Finance, The University of Pennsylvania. She can find a well paying job anywhere in the world, and does not have to cari makan from a crook like Najib. But she tarnished her reputation when she compromised her integrity. It will be interesting to see where she will go next. Maybe a Vice Chancellor of one of our low rated universities. What a shame. –Din Merican

  5. The investigation into the RM 2.6 billion deposit could have been done more professionally and the facts presented in proper perspective. Most importantly, its sheer size would immediately dismiss the payment as export proceeds. Every export of more than RM 5,000 required the pre-submission of standard Exchange Control Form and that form could easily be recalled for matching purposes. Once dismissed as non-export proceed, the case automatically called for full and detailed investigation. Such an investigation ought to have unraveled all the hanky panky. Yet, as we have seen, the account’s closure had been used as an escape route to claim that the remaining balance of RM 2.03 billion was refunded. It is unfortunate that BNM had made no comments thereon. A lot of questions remain unanswered. Is the claim true ? Was RM 2.03 billion the exact balance when the account was closed ? By the way, how was the balance transferred ? In what currency and to which bank ? BNM also ought to answer as to how that transfer was made possible, if it was not made without its consent ?
    Thanks, Alias. During our time with Tun Ismail Ali as Governor this could not have happened in Bank Negara. The politicians were scared of him and the team he had assembled at the Bank. When Tan Sri Aziz Taha, a successor Governor of impeccable character and integrity,resigned after serious disagreements over policy with Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Bank Negara’s independence was completely eroded as the Minister of Finance (Daim Zainuddin) and the Treasury took control of monetary policy.–Din Merican

  6. Zeti could have been warned that she would end in a cement drum. Mysterious high-profile political murders could have convinced her to keep her mouth sealed.

  7. Regardless, Irregularities and or CBTs are committed in BNM, Zeti, being the head is fully held Accountable and Responsible.

    The Rules and Laws of the country shall apply.

    No excuse whatsoever. At stake also, is the country’s image and public finance and banking integrity.

  8. In the end it’s bums like us who have to shoulder the responsibility of rebuilding this once bountiful nation. Jibby and his thieving gang will live in some distant land enjoying the “fruits of their labour”. Love or loath it we’ll have to come to terms with this reality.

    • God may be punishing for our decisions in choosing such leaders. Rzkyat pays for its decisions.

  9. Hi Guys

    I see a lot of negative comments about Dr Zeti who would have had a illustrious carrer in stablising the bank and gaining a acceptable working relationship with Government had it not been for 1MDB. on 1MDB i am just wondering what can Zeti do realistically save give the findings on money laundering and other financial anomalies to AG and through that office coperate with any investigation MACC and Police and enforement authority conducts. BMN is not a enforcement unit, it is a regulator of banking industry and set intrest rates. They can charge banks if those banks violated any code but it is again through enforcement bodies. I could be wrong, Does out there can cite statues of articles that gives BNM direct authority to charge anyone and get enforcement units to act?

  10. /// TL Man April 27, 2016 at 11:03 pm
    If you look on the flip side of the US currency note, it reads, “In God We Trust” ///

    That’s right. In god we trust; everyone else pays cash.
    That’s why cash is king.
    That’s why the crooks all insist on the greenbacks.

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