TAN SRI Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz's tenure as Bank Negara governor has been extended another five years with effect from May 1.
The Finance Ministry said in a statement yesterday that her appointment has been sanctioned by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
The banking and investment fraternity has lauded the extension, saying the move would help bring the banking industry to greater heights.
Association of Finance Companies of Malaysia chairman Datuk Seri Tay Ah Lek said the central bank had achieved many extraordinary things under Zeti's leadership.
Tay said she had led a successful programme to consolidate and strengthen the country's banking and finance sector, especially during the post-Asian financial crisis period.
“The fruit of her labour of love is there for us to see,” he said.
Tay said Zeti was also responsible for the economy reflating faster than some of the other crisis-hit economies post-Asian financial crisis.
“Since July last year, Malaysia has moved back smoothly to the market-determined exchange rate regime under her leadership.
“Zeti is responsible for the economic growth that we have enjoyed since the crisis.
“Bank Negara has maintained an accommodative monetary policy to support growth without causing any major problems like inflation,” he said.
Tay said Zeti was also responsible for many of the pioneering efforts in developing Islamic finance, which has resulted in Malaysia leading Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates as the centre for Islamic finance.
HONG LEONG BANK BHD group managing director Yvonne Chia said: “It (the tenure extension) acknowledges her excellent contribution to the financial services industry in Malaysia and internationally, her strong stewardship and professional reputation locally and internationally.
“She is among the best in class of the world's central bankers.”
Alliance Banking Group chief executive officer Bridget Lai said the Malaysian financial system had experienced significant structural enhancements to effectively respond to rapid demands globally under Zeti's leadership.
“Leadership is all about the vision of the future, charting strategic direction and making the vision a reality. The Governor epitomises this,” she said.
Lai said Zeti had demonstrated her zeal to push the frontiers of excellence and her boldness to take on new challenges, safeguard the country's currency and promote the local monetary financial system and stability.
“Malaysia and its economy have much to gain from Zeti's continued service,” she said.
HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd deputy chairman and chief executive officer Zarir J. Cama said the group was delighted, as this was the best thing for the financial services sector in Malaysia as well as in the region.
“The Islamic banking sector will be particularly pleased as the Governor has been the champion of Islamic finance and clearly, this is an area which will continue to grow under her wise stewardship and guidance.
“This will propel Malaysia into being the global centre of excellence for Islamic finance,” he said.
AmResearch executive director and head of research Gan Kim Khoon believes the reappointment would be positive for the banking industry, given Zeti's strong record and experience.
“She guided the banking sector and the economy through the difficult period after Sept 11.
“All through her tenure, she has steered the banking industry well and built a strong foundation to improve on the strength of the Malaysian banking sector,” he said.
SBB Securities banking analyst Mohd Amin Manap said Zeti was the best person for the job.
“She has done so much for the banking industry, for example, her guidance during the lifting of the ringgit peg against the US dollar and the liberalisation of the banking industry.
“With her credentials and experience, she has steadily helped improve our banking system,” he said.
Zeti was appointed Bank Negara governor in May 2000, succeeding Tan Sri Ali Abul Hassan who served an 18-month term.
She is the first woman to head the central bank and the first female central banker in Asia.
Zeti has been with the central bank since 1985.
She has served in numerous senior positions there, including chief economist, chief representative at the London office, adviser, assistant governor and deputy governor.
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