Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Kuala Lumpur — Malaysia’s central bank governor, Muhammad Ibrahim, has resigned.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced the governor’s departure at a press conference on Wednesday, without giving a reason.

Muhammad is leaving less than halfway through his five-year term at Bank Negara Malaysia, which would have ended in 2021.

The government will name his successor once the choice has been approved by the country’s king.

Local media speculated that it would be Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus after Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday that Muhammad had offered this week to resign.

The governor’s unexpected resignation comes less than a month after Mahathir took power in a surprise election victory, and follows questions about the central bank’s purchase of land from the previous government under Muhammad’s watch.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said in May that the previous administration of Najib Razak had used money raised from a land sale to the central bank — valued at about 2-billion ringgit ($503m) — to pay off some of the debts of 1MDB, the state investment fund mired in a corruption scandal.

Bank Negara has said the purchase was transacted at fair value and complied with all governance requirements and relevant laws.