KUALA LUMPUR: Former deputy prime minister and finance minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was yesterday summoned before a special task force investigating Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) forex losses in the 1990s at the Finance Ministry here.
This was confirmed by task force chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan after the hearing ended at 6pm. “He (Anwar) came.”
Asked whether Anwar was the first person to be called for questioning, Sidek said: “No, there were others before him.”
Sidek, however, declined to divulge further details regarding the proceedings.
The PKR de-facto leader arrived here at 2.30pm, guarded closely by police and prison personnel. He left at 4.45pm.
Anwar’s wife and PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, daughter and Lembah Pantai member of parliament Nurul Izzah Anwar and Anwar’s lawyer, R. Sivarasa, were also present at the ministry yesterday. They were not allowed to meet Anwar.
Anwar is currently serving a five-year jail sentence at the Sungai Buloh Prison for sodomy.
The seven-member task force, headed by Sidek, who is former chief secretary to the government, is probing the US$10 billion losses incurred by BNM through forex dealings between 1991 and 1993.
Other members of the task force are Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission deputy chief commissioner Datuk Azam Baki, Police Commercial Crimes Department director Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, Securities Commission Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh, Retirement Fund Inc chief executive officer Datuk Wan Kamaruzaman Wan Ahmad, Pemudah co-chairman Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon, and lawyer Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos.
Sidek was quoted as saying last month that it would present its findings to the cabinet in three months, adding that the team would focus on three terms of reference. The terms of reference are on conducting preliminary investigations into losses by BNM related to its speculative foreign currency transactions; on whether there was any action to cover up the losses; and, whether misleading statements on the matter were presented to Parliament.
Sidek had said the task force would submit recommendations on further action to the government, including the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry, if necessary, based on the results of the investigation.
He added that the task force would look into all aspects of the case, including the roles and functions of BNM and/or other body, corporate or individuals, in the speculative foreign currency transactions, including matters pertaining to authorisation and management of said activities.
“We will also look into compliance with relevant laws, regulations and guidelines pertaining to BNM’s roles and functions in the foreign currency transactions. We will also investigate whether there was any attempt to cover up the real scale of BNM’s losses, as well as the individuals complicit in the cover- up,” he was quoted as saying.
The matter was brought to light by former BNM assistant governor Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid, who said BNM’s losses were much more than the reported RM9 billion in its 1994 annual report.
Murad had also urged former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, along with two former finance ministers Anwar and Tun Daim Zainuddin, to be questioned on the issue.
Various quarters had also urged DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang to record his statement for bringing up the matter in the Dewan Rakyat in 1993 and 1994.