Bank Negara Request for Closed-Door Forex Inquiry Denied

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Forex RCI kicks off with former BNM assistant governor to provide testimony.

Aizuddin Saad/NST

At the start of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into Malaysia’s foreign exchange losses scandal in the 1980s and 1990s, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) requested for the inquiry to be held behind closed doors citing the confidential nature of some of its reports.

Lawyer for BNM Datuk Tan Hock Chuan said several reports that were involved in the investigations have been designated as under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and might implicate the witnesses called to testify.

He also said that two BNM witnesses have not been granted immunity and could be charged in the future.

“Two witnesses from BNM have no immunity for criminal action to breach the OSA.

“We have an alternative suggestion – exclude the investigation to the press and public,” BNM’s lawyer said

RCI panel chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan disagreed with Tan’s argument and said the inquiry will continue to be held openly.

“This is an inquiry; nobody is on trial. I’m advised (that) this is an inquiry, not a trial,” Mohd Sidek said. 

“We’re commissioned by the Agong to do this.

“I’m told that under the Act…commissioners have powers…therefore from now I’m going to continue without delaying the inquiry,” he added.

Related reports:

Aug 5, BNM Forex Losses Royal Inquiry Begins Tuesday

Jun 29, Bank Negara’s Forex Scandal Possibly Cost Malaysia RM100B

Jun 27, Kit Siang Wants Special Task Force Report on Bank Negara’s Forex Losses Made Public