Pakatan Rakyat is planning to hold a roundtable meeting on the matter. Apart from the PM, Bank Negara and GFI reps will also be invited.
PETALING JAYA: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today said Pakatan Rakyat will organise a roundtable meeting and invite Finance Minister Najib Tun Razak to discuss the latest report by Global Financial Integrity [GFI] on illicit financial outflows.
The GFI report had revealed that nearly RM200 billion in “dirty money” had been siphoned out of Malaysia in 2010, making it the second worst worldwide.
Anwar described the amount of money that had gone out between 2001 and 2010, at RM 871.4 billion, as “very alarming”.
The opposition leader said he would be writing to Bank Negara Governor Zeti Akhtar, GFI and the chief ministers of the Pakatan Rakyat-governed states to attend the roundtable talk planned for January 2013.
He added that he would also be inviting the banking sector as well.
Anwar criticised Najib for remaining silent on the issue and concluded that the prime minister had failed to manage the economy and stem corruption.
“My Pakatan colleagues and I are ready to take the initiative to bring all parties to a roundtable to pursue this issue and come up with a strong action plan,” he told a press conference here.
“This is a form of robbery that is affecting the state of the economy and of course will adversely impact the masses.
“It is only proper for the government and Bank Negara to explain and for us in Pakatan to also assure that we will give all cooperation to discuss what will be done, because what has been done in the past has failed miserably, because the amount has increased so much,” he said.
Washington-based financial watchdog GFI yesterday found that in 2010, Malaysia was the world’s number two when it came to illegal capital flight, second only to China.
The report further revealed that Malaysia ranked number three globally over 10 years from 2001 to 2010 with US$285 billion (RM871.4 billion) of illicit outflow.
The year 2010 also saw the highest level of illicit outflow in Malaysia in the previous 10 years; in 2009, Malaysia’s capital flight was US$30.41 billion (RM93 billion), and that figure leaped to US$64.38 billion (RM196.8 billion) in the following year – an increase of 112%.
Bank Negara under fire
Anwar said that from next week onwards, he would be holding weekly press conferences while awaiting the 13th general election and the focus would be on this “crucial matter”.
He said such roundtable discussions have been done in India where it (illegal financial outflow) had become a major issue, and even described as “the great Indian robbery” in the media there.
Anwar said that effective measures must be taken as the opposition does not have confidence that the Treasury can resolve it independently.
“GFI monitors the outflow of illicit money by employing globally accepted economic methodologies and its reports set the global benchmark on this matter. As such, its appraisal and analysis of Malaysia’s dire situation should be taken seriously by all parties,” he said, stressing that such leakages will “ultimately harm the people of Malaysia”.
Anwar noted that GFI explained in its report that “macroeconomic issues and the perception of widespread corruption and bribery; size of the illegal economy, namely criminal activities, illegal gambling; and weak law enforcement on matters of public and economic governance” can cause the flow of illicit money out of the counntry.
He also criticised Bank Negara for failing to monitor such huge sums of money going out of the country illegally, citing the RM40 million “political donation” matter in Hong Kong as one example.
“That is just one specific instance, and even then only after it was exposed. Can Bank Negara safely say that it is the only amount going out? How is it the central bank is unable to monitor these things? Tell us how it has gone unnoticed and no action taken.”
“I believe the country needs a united stand to address this problem. Immediate steps should be taken to finalise an action plan for implementation. The prime minister cannot lead the nation by avoiding the issue,” he said.