1MDB issue top topic at Bank Negara’s briefing

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 14 Nov 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Issues relating to 1MDB Bhd and the weak ringgit overshadowed Bank Negara’s third-quarter economic briefing, with the 1MDB issue being the main thrust of the media.

Asked whether the central bank had made any mistake in the investigation on 1MDB’s investments abroad, Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz replied with an emphatic “No”.

She said the central bank would evaluate 1MDB’s response and make an assessment on the information received.

“It is premature now to say anything more,” Zeti said at a media briefing following the release of the third quarter economic data.

She said all options would be considered in dealing with any contravention to the central bank’s rules and regulations.

“This is important. Bank Negara is answerable to the people of this country and we have in place rules and regulations,” Zeti said.

She said Bank Negara had engaged directly with 1MDB on at least five separate occasions on its applications during the period when these (the applications) took place.

“We have information obtained by the bank during these engagements and numerous related correspondences,” Zeti said.

Referring to a decision by Bank Negara to deny permission to 1MDB for an investment abroad, Zeti said: “Any corporation that does not comply with our rules and applications, does not submit complete information, subsequent request for them to invest abroad will be rejected.”

She said rules and regulations served a purpose.

“They have served the purpose of our country for more than 50 years; now we’ve a very sound and effective operating financial system”.

Saying it was not just about “filling up forms”, Zeti added: “Other investors should be aware that if they want to invest massively abroad, above the RM100mil threshold, they have to submit not only the forms but detailed information on the investment.

“Bank Negara will continually request for the information and if it is not provided, then future requests would be rejected.”

On whether there were political interferences over the 1MDB issue, she said everything would be done to protect Bank Negara from being drawn into any political agenda.

“And I think we owe it to the public at large. The effectiveness of the central bank is based on the trust and respect that the people and banking industry have for the central bank and therefore, we’ll not be drawn into any political development or any political agenda.”