6 June 2018
Update: BNM declines to comment on market talk of governor‘s resignation –
KUALA LUMPUR (June 5): Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) declined to comment on strong market talk that governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim has submitted his resignation.
Speculation has been rife in the market that Muhammad had tendered his resignation. However when contacted, a BNM spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.
“No comment at this point,” the spokesperson said.
Muhammad was appointed as the governor of the central bank on May 1, 2016 succeeding Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz. Prior to joining BNM, he helmed Danamodal Nasional Bhd as its managing director, and the Securities Commission Malaysia as its commissioner.
Bank Negara governor seen as Najib’s man, says source
A source says Muhammad Ibrahim is under pressure to resign as he is seen as a Barisan Nasional supporter.
PETALING JAYA: A source close to the Bank Negara governor says Muhammad Ibrahim is under pressure to step down as he is viewed as a strong supporter of the previous government.
“He is seen as Najib’s (Razak) man. It may or may not be true but that is the perception. There is a lack of trust in many civil servants at the moment. There is a race to replace head of departments with people the present government trusts,” the source told FMT.
He said the second reason could be linked to allegations that the central bank had overpaid for a parcel of land in Kuala Lumpur.
The Star on May 30 quoted sources as saying that Bank Negara was believed to have overpaid for the land it had bought from the Finance Ministry (MoF) when it forked out RM2.066 billion for the 67.41 acres of land.
The proceeds from the deal went to service 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) debt obligations, the paper had said.
Sources said although Bank Negara might have wanted the piece of land for its own training purposes due to its location next to the bank’s Sasana Kijang complex, there was “no need” to pay RM703.44 psf for it.
According to Reuters today, it said former Bank Negara Malaysia deputy governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus is among the candidates tipped to succeed governor Muhammad Ibrahim if he resigns.
Malaysia is discussing exit terms for Muhammad and an announcement could be made as early as Wednesday, people aware of the discussions told Reuters.
24 May 2018
Bank Negara says has handed details of land purchase to MACC
KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — Malaysia’s central bank said today that it has handed details of a transaction to purchase land from the government to the anti-graft agency, after reports that funds from the deal may have been used to pay dues of troubled state fund 1MDB.
The government of former Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak used funds from the deal to pay for some of the liabilities of beleaguered state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
“The transaction complied with all the governance requirements and relevant laws that govern the Bank,” Bank Negara Malaysia said in a statement, adding that information on the transaction had been passed to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). — Reuters
WSJ: Najib govt used BNM to pay RM2b of 1MDB debts
KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — The defeated Barisan Nasional government allegedly made Bank Negara Malaysia pay US$500 million (RM2 billion) of 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) debt, according to sources who knew of the deal.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that 1MDB was in financial distress late last year and lacked the cash flow needed to pay the sum owed to Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).
The allegation corroborates Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s revelation that 1MDB cannot meet its debt obligations on its own, and needed the Finance Ministry to pay nearly RM7 billion of its debt and interests last year.
According to the WSJ report, funds that 1MDB claimed originated from its sale of power plants as part of its “rationalisation programme” had come instead from BNM through a land deal.
The WSJ’s revelation is the latest in the sordid scandal surrounding 1MDB, the extent of which is horrifying Malaysians and the new Pakatan Harapan administration.
Aside from the RM7 billion spent in 2017 alone to pay off 1MDB’s debts, Lim met with executives and officials of the state investment firm yesterday and came away with the conclusion that the firm was effectively insolvent.
He reserved the harshest comments for 1MDB president Arul Kanda Kandasamy who confidently went on a roadshow ahead of the general election to convince Malaysians that the 1MDB issue was resolved and that no wrongdoing was involved.
However, in his meeting with Lim yesterday, the minister said Arul claimed to have no idea about the condition of the firm’s finances or whether the billions of ringgit in “units” even existed, despite previous insistence that these existed and were redeemed.
Lim later dubbed Arul Kanda “utterly dishonest and untrustworthy.”
Report: Bank Negara RM2b land deal meant to bail out 1MDB
Bank Negara Malaysia’s acquisition of a 22.5-hectare plot of land for RM2 billion from the government was allegedly meant to help pay off 1MDB debts.
This is according to a report from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which claimed that the money from the land deal was used to pay off 1MDB’s obligations to an Abu Dhabi state fund due at the end of 2017.
While WSJ did not name the Abu Dhabi state fund, The Edge Markets identified it as International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC).
“The Malaysian fund said in December (2017) it came up with the money via an ‘ongoing rationalisation programme’ that involved selling off holdings like power plants and land.
“Instead, the people familiar with the transaction said, the money came from a land deal involving the central bank,” the WSJ reported today.
The Abu Dhabi state fund had in 2015 stepped in to bail out 1MDB, with an agreement from the Finance Ministry to repay them US$1.2 billion by the end of 2017.
People familiar with the matter said 1MDB had almost no cash flow, according to the WSJ, and so as the deadline on those obligations neared, the government supposedly turned to the central bank.
WSJ reported that the RM2 billion proceeds from the land deal with Bank Negara purportedly went into a special purpose vehicle set up by the Finance Ministry to pay off a portion of 1MDB’s debt to the Abu Dhabi fund, according to people familiar with the transaction.
18 May 2018
BNM may reopen probe into alleged massive fraud at 1MDB
Malaysia’s central bank governor says the institution will reopen its investigation into the Malaysian government-owned investment fund 1MDB if it receives “new information”.
Public anger over accusations that former prime minister Najib Razak was involved in massive fraud at 1MDB was the main factor in his shock election defeat last week, local observers say. The newly elected prime minster Mahathir Mohamad told reporters that he expects Razak to face prosecution soon over the affair.
17 May 2018
KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has been objective and followed the law under its purview when it comes to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-related investigation, but will reopen the case if new data emerges, Governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim said today.
“Whether we will reopen the case and look at a different angle, (I believe) we have exhausted all investigations. We have given all the information to the Attorney-General’s Chambers,” he said.
Asked how much of the allegedly laundered 1MDB money BNM intended to return back to the country, Muhammad said he could not comment as it had yet to receive any new data on the investigation.
The central bank would be able to make an assessment when it received new and more comprehensive information, he said during a question-and-answer session in conjunction with the announcement of Malaysia’s first-quarter economic performance here today.
As for possible actions against AmBank Group, Muhammad reiterated that action would only be taken if there was new information retrieved by the central bank.
“So far, we have taken (all) the necessary actions based on the information (received), but if there is (new) data that we didn’t have before, we will certainly look at it (the case) again,” he added.
4 January 2018
Bank Negara buys land from gov’t for RM2b
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has acquired 22.58 hectares of land from the government, for RM2 billion, to be utilised for the relocation of the Global Islamic Finance University and the International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance.
The land will also be used for future development of education and training facilities that will focus on enhancing the technical capabilities of the talents in the financial industry.
“The land is located contiguous to the bank’s Sasana Kijang complex, which is equipped with conference and state of the art training facilities and houses international organisations such as the World Bank, South East Asian Central Banks Research and Training Centre and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.
“It is also near the new Asia School of Business (a collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) complex and the financial industry’s Financial Industry Training Centre presently under construction,” it said in a statement.
The completion of this transaction is the culmination of several months of discussions between the two parties.