KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 — Outgoing Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz must be happy now, that her successor is no other than her immediate deputy Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim.
She had said before, that due to a very challenging environment currently, the person who is chosen as governor must be able to manage all these and also be able to keep the central bank team intact.
Well, she got what she had wished for.
Zeti, who had been 16 years at the helm, has high regards for the BNM team for their commitment and dedication in delivering the mandates of the bank.
Hence, she assured senior editors at a briefing last year, that when she completes her term, “this institution would remain solid and resilient and would continue to do the good job.”
And she got Muhammad, aged 56, to do all that now.
The search for the new governor is now over after a lot of speculations over potential candidates, with several names bandied about, including Muhammad himself.
The others were former Malaysian Ambassador to the US Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin, Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, deputy BNM governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus, and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar.
The long-awaited announcement came at about 2.30 pm today as Muhammad was supposed to attend a Terengganu-themed oil painting exhibition at the BNM Museum and Art Gallery at Sasana Kijang at 3 pm.
The press was there and their presence was exceptionally large.
They waited until he had toured the exhibition before swarming him for comments.
The financial industry too is jubilant as Muhammad, who has extensive experience and impressive leadership track record, was hailed by many as the right man for the job.
Home-grown, having joined BNM in 1984 before becoming deputy governor in June 2010, Muhammad, who is from Selangor, will serve as BNM governor for five years from May 1.
Accepting the post with great humility, he said, “It is important for the central bank to maintain monetary and financial stability, remain focused on its strategic agenda and work towards contributing to a better future for all Malaysians.”
He thanked Zeti for her exemplary leadership and enormous contributions to the central bank and to the nation.