Outgoing Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim, in message to staff on why he was resigning, clarified that the central bank had told the government to undertake a competitive public tender for the sale of a piece of land measuring 55.79 acres for RM2bil.
“Internally, we deliberated this at a number of board meetings. We even recommended to the government for the sale to be best done by way of a public tender which we would be glad to participate competitively in along with any other interests.
“We also chose to publish a press release in January 2018 to inform the public of the purchase in our effort to be transparent.”
Muhammad said Bank Negara had indicated its interest as early as September of 2016. It initiated the purchase of the land a year later when it knew that there was an emergent interest by the government then to sell this land.
He said Bank Negara had a vision for a Financial Education Hub. It also ensured that everything was done in the right manner, with proper governance and accountability, including compliance with all relevant laws.
In his candid message, he said that when he took office in May 2016, he vowed to execute the responsibility of the office of the governor with the highest level of professionalism, integrity and honour.
“Over the past few weeks, there have been serious questions raised if I have fallen short of this standard and put at risk public confidence in the Bank.
Muhammad said that Bank Negara, as an institution, would never be involved with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
“The perception is that the purchase of the land was made to intentionally aid and abet the misappropriation of public funds pertaining to the corruption and scandal surrounding 1MDB.
“This is totally untrue. Bank Negara Malaysia will never be party to any such activities that would betray the public trust in us. We abhor any semblance of corruption and abuse of power.
Muhammad pointed Bank Negara did not know nor did it have any control over the proceeds of the land purchase that would be used to settle 1MDB’s obligations.
“It is simply unthinkable for us to be associated with such a controversial entity mired with accusations of fraud and mismanagement. It is not in our nature to do such things. We even took enforcement action against them earlier.
“The 1MDB scandal has cost the country dearly and as a Malaysian myself, I am deeply angered, distressed and outraged,” it said.