(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia named Shaik Abdul Rasheed Abdul Ghaffour as its new central bank governor, tasked with fostering stability and confidence in an economy under pressure from slowing global demand, volatile inflation and a weakened ringgit.
Malaysia’s king approved Abdul Rasheed as the governor from July 1 for a period of five years, Bank Negara Malaysia said Friday. He will replace Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus, whose term ends June 30, according to the statement.
Abdul Rasheed joined the bank in 1988, rising to the position of deputy governor in 2016. He has been a member of the Monetary Policy Committee and Financial Stability Committee since 2015. He was also key in the development and implementation of the Financial Sector Masterplan and Financial Sector Blueprints, according to the statement.
His appointment comes just as the debate around inflation and rate hikes regained momentum, after Canada and Australia unexpectedly boosted rates to tame prices. BNM also unexpectedly raised the benchmark rate last month, citing the threat of future financial imbalances. It may face pressure to tighten further to prevent outflows if higher US interest rates continue to bolster the dollar. The next rate decision is due July 6.
Abdul Rasheed’s “extensive experience and proven track record” in the bank will advance the interests of the country, BNM said in the statement. He graduated from Universiti Malaya with a Bachelor of Economics and also holds an MBA from the Saïd Business School, Oxford University.
Outgoing governor Shamsiah said she had full faith in Abdul Rasheed’s ability to continue the bank’s mandate of providing monetary and financial stability. The two had worked closely for many years, said Shamsiah, describing the past five years as “a tumultuous and critical period for the nation.”
Shamsiah took the role after the multi-billion dollar scandal at state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Bhd. and a change in government led to her predecessor’s surprise resignation in June 2018.
She went on to work with four different prime ministers as well as steer the economy through the pandemic-induced recession. The central bank was among the first in the region to tighten monetary policy last year and was also ahead in pausing as price pressures eased.
Through it all, Malaysia became Asia’s fastest-growing economy in 2022 after posting an 8.7% growth that was the most in more than two decades. Gross domestic product beat expectations in the first quarter, even as the country expects growth to moderate this year on the back of a global slowdown.
As a regulator, Shamsiah has also taken a tough stance on cybersecurity and financial scams.
Shamsiah was deputy governor at the central bank for six years until she left in November 2016. Before she was tapped to become governor in 2018, she was involved in the investigation of 1MDB while at the central bank.
“It is an honour to be appointed to the position of governor,” said Abdul Rasheed. “I look forward to continue and build on the work of Governor Shamsiah.”
(Updates with details throughout.)
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