Malaysia appoints ex-central banker Nor Shamsiah as new governor

Published: June 22, 2018 10:52:45 | Updated: June 23, 2018 13:21:41

A general view of the headquarters of Malaysia's central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur January 29, 2013. Reuters/File Photo

Malaysia has named Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus, a former central bank deputy, as the new governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, a spokesman for the prime minister said on Friday, following the exit of its previous chief less than halfway through his five-year term.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said earlier this month he had accepted the resignation of Muhammad Ibrahim as governor of the central bank. The 92-year-old leader has replaced some officials seen as close to the previous government led by Najib Razak.

Following a stunning election victory last month, Mahathir’s administration has reopened investigations into alleged corruption and money laundering at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Muhammad’s exit is seen as a fallout from the 1MDB scandal, after the finance ministry said funds from a central bank deal with the Najib government were used to clear some of the fund’s dues.

The new central bank governor takes over at a time when there are uncertainties over the economic and fiscal policies of the new administration. Foreign investors have pulled out of Malaysian equities and ratings agencies have expressed concerns over the country’s fiscal strength.

Nor Shamsiah, who joined Bank Negara in 1987 after graduating from Australia, left the central bank in November 2016 when her term ended, just months after Muhammad’s appointment.

Nor Shamsiah was appointed to the deputy governor role in 2010 and reappointed in 2013.

She assisted with the 1MDB investigation when Muhammad’s predecessor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, who retired after 16 years at the helm in 2016, was in charge, Reuters reported.

A finance ministry statement is expected later on Friday.

Bank Negara’s earlier statements said she has extensive experience in the development of prudential regulation, legislation, policies and guidelines for the financial sector. The central bank also said she was involved in the financial sector resolution initiatives during the Asian financial crisis.

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