Najib Names Former Finance Chief, Brother to Economic Committee

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak named his brother and a senior finance official under former premier Mahathir Mohamad as members of a committee tasked with finding ways to spur the economy amid a rout in the country’s financial markets.

Nor Mohamed Yakcop, a former second finance minister and central bank adviser, and Nazir Razak, chairman of lender CIMB Group Holdings Bhd., are among the biggest names in the committee that Najib unveiled Wednesday. The group will look at short- and medium-term strategies to strengthen the country as confidence among global investors ebbs.

Foreign funds have dumped more than $3 billion of the nation’s shares this year and the ringgit is near a 17-year low as political uncertainty clouds the outlook for an economy rocked by plunging oil prices and an emerging-market selloff. The government and central bank have ruled out capital controls or a ringgit peg, and said the country remains committed to market-friendly policies.

“More responsive and decisive action is needed amid global uncertainty,” Najib said. “Taking into account the current situation, the government is determined to address and minimize some of the global impact on Malaysia’s real economy.”

The ringgit depreciated 0.8 percent to 4.2470 a dollar as of 3:35 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur, according to prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg. It reached 4.2990 earlier, the lowest since July 1998, and has weakened more than 17 percent in 2015.

Malaysia has been struggling to boost confidence in its economy and finances since oil prices started slumping late last year.

Investors have also been rattled by allegations of financial irregularities at state investment company 1Malaysia Development Bhd., and Najib is facing accusations of impropriety after it was disclosed that political donations ended up in his private accounts in 2013. The accounts have since been closed.

Other members of the economic committee include Azman Mokhtar, managing director of state investment company Khazanah Nasional Bhd., and Malayan Banking Bhd. Chief Executive Officer Abdul Farid Alias.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE