Saturday, March 12, 2016

Irwan says in the dark about taking over from Zeti

Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah insists he does not know anything about being appointed central bank governor to succeed Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz as reported by The Wall Street Journal. He did not deny the report but insisted he was not in the know. "I don't know," the Finance Ministry secretary-general said in a WhatsApp message to The Malaysian Insider. When asked if he was refuting the WSJ report, Irwan repeated that he did not know. "When I say I don't know, it means I don't know," he said. The US financial daily, quoting sources, had said Putrajaya would name Irwan the new head of Bank Negara next week. Zeti, whose term ends in April, said yesterday the central bank had submitted the name of her successor. "We have made the recommendation and the government will make the decision and submit the name to the (Yang di-Pertuan) Agong," Zeti told reporters on the sidelines of a forum in Kuala Lumpur. "Just be patient. (It will be announced) very soon," she said when asked on her preferred choice between Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar and current deputy governor Datuk Mohamed Ibrahim. Irwan joined the Finance Ministry in 2003 and is a member of Bank Negara's board. WSJ said if Irwan were appointed, it "might be a blow to Zeti's (lobbying) efforts" to fill the post with an internal candidate. The daily praised Zeti for her "stable economic management", which had attracted investors to the stock and bond markets. During the final year of her tenure, she grappled with a shrinking ringgit and the fallout from the corruption scandal surrounding state-owned investment firm 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is chairman of 1MDB's advisory board. Irwan also sits on the board. WSJ first broke the news last July that US$681 million (RM2.6 billion) had been deposited into Najib's bank accounts, saying the funds had come from 1MDB. Another RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd was also transferred into Najib's accounts. Investigators in at least five countries, including the US, are probing into the missing billions from 1MDB. In January, the attorney-general said there was "insufficient evidence" to charge Najib with criminal wrongdoing over the RM2.6 billion, which Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali said was a donation from the Saudi royal family. – March 12, 2016.]]>

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