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Bank Negara forex losses: Why am I not allowed to attend inquiry, asks Anwar

The Anwar-led Pakatan Harapan coalition must tackle some hard questions

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Anwar Ibrahim considers it quite unjust if other witnesses are allowed to make prejudicial allegations against him at the inquiry and he is not allowed to respond.

I remain very concerned that I am not allowed to be present during the proceedings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) forex losses despite repeated requests by my lawyers based on the fact that my name has been mentioned a number of times by certain witnesses.

I am without question a person who is “ concerned” with the proceedings of the inquiry as provided for under section 18 of the Commissions of Enquiry Act 1950. Yet I am only able to follow the proceedings with much difficulty through limited contact with my lawyers at Penjara Sungai Buloh.

I have read the witness statement of Dato Murad bin Abdul Khalid where at paragraph 37, he alleges that on a flight to Hawaii in early 1994, he briefed me on the Bank Negara Malaysia forex losses and that I had said that if those losses were made public, I would have to resign as finance minister. His malicious insinuation is clear – that I had implied a cover-up was needed.

That allegation is false. I never said that to him. I should stress that there was no need for me to say such a thing to a functionary like Murad who was sent by Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Jaffar Hussein to brief me on technical aspects of the accounting done by Bank Negara and the contents of their annual report. I must stress at all other times I dealt directly with Tan Sri Jaffar.

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I had already been dealing with the issue of the Bank Negara forex losses since April 1993, when I was replying in Parliament based on figures and information in Bank Negara’s published 1992 report and their briefings to me. I did the same again in Parliament in April 1994 based on Bank Negara’s 1993 report and their updates to me.

Murad has been personally hostile towards me since 1999 when he published a sworn statutory declaration making false and scurrilous accusations against me. This declaration was investigated by the then Anti-Corruption Agency and found to be completely baseless. A High Court judge affirmed these findings and said “the declaration had been discredited” when he ruled in my favour in my libel suit against the New Straits Times, which wrote an article referring to the declaration.

I will reiterate these statements to the commission when they will call me as a witness to assist their inquiry. I say “when I am called” because I would consider it quite unjust if other witnesses are allowed to make prejudicial allegations against me in front of the commission and I am not allowed to make my response to them in the same manner.

Anwar Ibrahim remains imprisoned in Sungai Buloh Prison.

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