[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
Soros blamed for shakeup
Soros blamed for shakeup in SE Asia currencies
The Economic Time (27/07/97)
US financier George Soros was accused today of destabilizing South East
Asian currencies for political motives, as governments in the region
resolved to fight-back against speculation in their money.
Mr Soros was named by Malaysian Foreign Minister Mahathir Mohamad as the
man responsible for the recent shakeup of the Malaysian ringgit and other
currencies of countries in the association of South East Asian Nations
"Today, I'm conforming that Gorge Soros is the man that I was talking
about, " Mr Mahathir said today, after nearly a week of calling currency
speculators " rogues", "robbers", "anarchists" and "brigands".
Mr Mahathir also accused Mr Soros of using his financial clout to try
enblock Burma's admission into ASEAN.
Burma, whose membership into ASEAN had been strongly opposed by
Washington, join Laos this week in becoming a new members of the grouping
consisting of Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the
Philippines and Singapore.
Malaysia's New Straits Times newspaper reported today that Mr Soros had
issued a statement in New York in yesterday, denying that he had
intervened in SE Asia currency market to punish certain governments that
supported Burma's entry into ASEAN.
Mr Soros had admitted that he did not want Malaysia and Thailand to allow
Burma, which he regarded a "totalitarian and repressive regime", into
Asean, the New Straits Times said.
"However, I do not believe that the cause of freedom in Myanmar would be
advanced by linking it to currency speculation," he was quoted as saying.
Malaysia and neighboring countries have seen attacks on their currencies
in the past months, forcing devaluation in Thailand and the Philippines
and expensive intervention efforts in Malaysia. Indonesia has widened the
trading band for the rupiah.
Asean foreign ministers, holding their annual convention in Kuala Lumpur
this week, issued a statement yesterday, lambasting currency speculators
for trying to destabilize their economies.
They said there appeared to be "well coordinated efforts to destabilize
Asean currencies for self-serving purposes, thus threatening the stability
of all Asean economies."
The ministers, however, stopped short of proposing any concrete
counter-solutions or laws, saying they would leave such specifics to their
finance ministers and central bankers.
Mr Mahathir, who returned to Malaysia this week after a two-month holiday
to find the ringgit badly hit, said then it was the work of a speculator
who linked to project to the world that he was a charitable person.
Mr Soros runs a philanthropic organization called the Open Society
Institute, which aims to promote democracy and provide financial help to
certain countries. The Institute has done a project in Burma, but Mr Soros
denied any link between the work and that of his Soros Fund Management.
Mr Mahathir said today he was not convinced by the claim. "It is very
difficult to separate the right hand and the left hand and sometimes you
don't even know what your right hand is doing. But in this case, it is
quite obvious there is a convergence," he said.
"We have worked 20 to 40 years to develop our countries to this level and
along comes the man with the few billion US dollars and within a period of
two weeks, he has undone almost the work we have done," Mahathir said.
"Who is helping who...I would like to know that."