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YANG di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V has given his consent for a royal commission of inquiry to be formed to investigate the losses suffered by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in foreign currency exchange trading, says the Prime Minister’s Office.

Petronas chairman Mohd Sidek Hassan will chair the six-member RCI, PMO announced in a statement today.

PMO said the RCI will determine the validity of allegations of BNM losses due to foreign exchange speculation; determine whether BNM’s activities in forex trading had contravened the Central Bank Ordinance 1958 or any other law; and determine whether there was an attempt to cover up the losses.

The RCI will also recommend the appropriate action to be taken against the parties it finds to be directly and indirectly involved in the scandal, and the measures to take to ensure that such a thing does not recur, said the PMO

The RCI has three months to complete its investigation and submit a report to the king.

The members of the RCI are high court judge Kamaludin Md Said, Bursa Malaysia chief executive officer Tajuddin Bin Atan, special task to facilitate business co-chair Saw Choo Boon, accountant K Pushpanathan, and Finance Ministry strategic investment department secretary Yusof Ismail.

The chairman, Sidek, also chairs the special task force investigating the BNM forex losses. He had previously said an RCI would be appropriate to conduct the in-depth investigation that the case warranted.

The PMO said the RCI members were selected for their qualifications and experience in fields closely related to the commission’s investigation, while Sidek and Saw were also members of the special task force investigating the same case

The special task force was formed this year to investigate the financial scandal that broke during the administration of Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Former Bank Negara assistant governor Abdul Murad Khalid had revealed in January that that BNM had suffered US$10 billion (RM43 billion) in foreign exchange market losses in the early 1990s, and not the RM9 billion it disclosed. – July 18, 2017.

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