BNM governor resigns

PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today confirmed that Bank Negara Malaysia governor Muhammad Ibrahim has submitted his resignation, just two years after he was appointed.

The prime minister said the government was now waiting for the palace to approve a candidate to replace Muhammad.

“We need to get the Agong’s approval before we can announce (his successor),” he said, adding that he would meet with the king to appoint the new governor “as soon as possible”.

Mahathir was speaking to reporters after chairing the weekly Cabinet meeting here.

When asked if Muhammad had given any reason for his decision to step down, Mahathir said he had given no concrete reason.

“But he expressed his desire to resign.”

Yesterday, it was reported that Muhammad had offered to resign from his post, while the government was discussing his exit terms.

Muhammad, a career banker, took over from Zeti Akhtar Aziz in May 2016.

His resignation followed Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s revelation last month that funds from a land sale made by the government to the central bank for about RM2 billion had been used to pay for 1MDB’s obligation to Abu Dhabi state fund IPIC.

BNM had said the transaction complied with government requirements and that it had handed details of the deal to the anti-graft agency.

But Mahathir today said there was no mention of the land deals when Muhammad tendered his resignation.

In a statement issued by the central bank hours later, Bank Negara said it has accepted Muhammad’s offer to step down as the governor.

“The bank will also ensure a smooth transition in the handing over of duties to the new governor.”

Muhammad, the statement said, also thanked the government for being given the “honour and privillege” to serve the nation.