Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he had never dismissed any Bank Negara governors during his time as the premier.
Only the Yang di-Pertuan Agong can appoint the governor on the advice of the prime minister, he stated in an interview with Bloomberg published today.
Mahathir pointed out that on the day he wanted to implement currency control, the then-Bank Negara governor and deputy governor tendered their resignations.
“So I had no choice but to get the ‘number three’ person, Zeti Akhtar Aziz ( photo ), to act as governor.
“And subsequently, I made the recommendation that she should be the governor. I didn’t dismiss any of the bank governors,” he added.
In 1998, the then Bank Negara governor and deputy governor were Ahmad Mohd Don and Fong Weng Phak respectively.
When asked whether the Bank Negara governor will remain independent if he or she is appointed by the prime minister, Mahathir said there is a "feeling of fear that something will be done to you if you try to be independent".
“For example, the Bank Negara governor has submitted a report to the attorney-general.
"The attorney-general has dismissed the report, and the Bank Negara governor cannot even open her mouth to say that she has made a good report after a careful investigation,” he explained.
Bank Negara has recommended enforcement actions with regard to the probe on state-owned 1MDB in the investigation paper submitted to the AG on Aug 21, 2015.
But the AG has cleared 1MDB officials of any wrongdoing.