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Dr Mahathir never entered trading room, RCI heard

PUTRAJAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) never entered the foreign exchange trading room at Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the forex losses in 1990s was told.
BNM's director of foreign exchange management department, Azman mat Ali, 54, said "he never did" when asked by Dr Mahathir's lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla whether the former premier did enter the trading room (in London) when he (Azman) was carrying out the forex trading.
To a question whether he was based in Bank Negara office in London when Dr Mahathir officiated the opening of forex trading room there, Azman said the event was held several years before he was posted as a dealer in the London office.
He said as a dealer at that time he carried out the dealings on instructions by the Chief Dealer and Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, who was then Bank Negara's adviser.
"Apart from reporting to Nor Mohamed and the chief dealer, nobody knew the extent of the forex trading,” he said.
He said that he did not recall whether any VIP, Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister had come to see him.
Azman, the 18th witness, said he had carried out foreign exchange transactions on the instructions of Nor Mohamed which could exceed USD1 billion a day.
When reading his statement, he said he could not answer if it was said that the foreign exchange business transactions carried out by the dealers were speculative in nature or a form of gambling.
"I have no comment on the allegation by Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid (former BNM Assistant Governor) that the foreign exchange transactions carried out by Bank Negara Malaysia from 1990 to 1994 were speculative and a form of gambling.
“I only carried out forex transactions on instruction from the chief,” he said.
Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan who is Petronas chairman, chaired the five-man panel.
The other members are High Court judge Datuk Wira Kamaludin Md Said, Chief Executive Officer of Bursa Malaysia Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan, Co-Chairman Special Task Force to facilitate Business (Pemudah) Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon and Malaysian Institute of Accountants member K. Puspanathan.
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