KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17, 2016:

Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said she will not stay on for another term as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor.

The process of finding a successor is being undertaken by the governance committee of the BNM board, which comprises independent directors from the private sector.

“I am not at liberty to discuss the matter. An announcement on my successor will be made soon. It will eventually happen,” Zeti said after launching the Investment Account Platform here today.

She said while the process for her successor was in place, there was no request for her to stay on.

“Certainly the next governor must have the relevant background and ability, especially at a time like this so that the transition can be managed well.

“Individuals come and go,” she said, adding that she planned to take some time off and then start writing.

Zeti also said she would continue to support education initiatives like the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance, The Leadership and Governance Centre and the new business school that will start this year. “I will not take up any position, certainly.”

To a question on whether a politician can become the next governor, Zeti said as there was no politician on the board of any financial institution and BNM.

“Every country needs an organisation like the central bank that does not have any political agenda. It should remain focused on ensuring macroeconomic, financial and economic stability.

“So economic and financial policies would be directed to achieve what is in the best interest of the country,” she said, adding that BNM has always been treated with respect and she expected this to continue.

“I do believe that the central bank has become a solid organisation. It has institutional strength, resilience and is founded on legal legislation.

“The Central Banking Act accords wide ranging power and independence as well. With that, we are accountable for the entire mandate as articulated with great clarity in the Act.”

To a question on the Pilgrims Fund Board (Tabung Haji), Zeti said advisory notices issued by BNM to non-bank financial institutions were aimed at ensuring these institutions continued to be well managed and effectively perform the role for which they were established.

“We issue advisory notices from time to time. Usually, these notices are issued well before something goes wrong, so if there is any issue, it can be addressed,” she said.

Tabung Haji is not the only institution that received advisory notices from BNM as others have also been issued the same, Zeti said.

“They are not under our regulatory framework and regulatory regime but what’s happening within their organisation may have systemic implication and linkages to other financial institutions.”

On the ringgit, Zeti said the performance of the local note depended on domestic and international developments.

“We will release the fourth quarter gross domestic product data tomorrow. What is important is that the economy is continuing to grow.

“Another important underlying fundamental is that we have a trade surplus, we have a current account surplus and our reserves are in a solid position.

“Our external debt is also at a very manageable position,” she said, adding that all these were underlying supporting factors for the ringgit.

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