Euromoney, May 9 2019
Read the full article here: https://www.euromoney.com/article/b1f9h3sblwvtm8/zeti-akhtar-aziz-clarity-of-purpose
Ask anyone who has worked with Zeti Akhtar Aziz about her and they will refer to her stability and calmness in the most difficult of circumstances. The secret, she says, is: “Having great clarity of the central purpose of what is to be achieved.”
She has had this sense of clarity tested more than most in a long career book-ended by crises. The record books show that she was governor of Bank Negara Malaysia from 2000 to 2016, but she actually made her name when she was made acting governor on 24 hours’ notice in the absolute heart of the Asian financial crisis in August 1998, after both the governor and deputy governor resigned over capital controls planned by the government.
Zeti was chief economist at the time. “I got the call from Anwar [Ibrahim, then minister of finance] saying the leadership decided I would take over,” she recalls. She said she wanted to speak to Mahathir Mohamad, prime minister then (and now), before the letter was sent for royal assent. “I went to see him and told him: ‘I don’t have expertise on controls.’
“Mahathir said: ‘This country doesn’t have any [such] expertise. We are all in this together.’”