KUALA LUMPUR A top Malaysian finance ministry official is set to be appointed as the new central bank governor to replace Zeti Akhtar Aziz next week, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.
Irwan Serigar Abdullah will replace Zeti, who steps down as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor on April 30 after 16 years at the helm, the report claimed.
A spokesman at the Prime Minister's office told Reuters he would not comment on speculation. A central bank spokesman did not answer Reuters' phone calls or respond to email requests for a comment.
Zeti is widely respected, and credited for pushing reforms and sounds policies, as well as protecting the independence of the central bank. There has been no official word on her replacement.
Market participants feared political interference in the appointment by Prime Minister Najib Razak's government especially after BNM insisted that state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) be charged for fiscal mismanagement..
Mohd Irwan was one of candidates short-listed for the job along with deputy central bank governor Muhammad Ibrahim, the minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of Economic Planning Abdul Wahid Omar and the Malaysian ambassador to the U.S. Awang Adek Hussin, Reuters reported in February.
A career civil servant, Mohd Irwan is currently the Treasury Secretary-General at the Finance Ministry, which is headed by Prime Minister Najib. He is also a member of the board of advisors for 1MDB.
(Reporting by Praveen Menon and Joseph Sipalan; Ediitng by Sam Holmes)
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