In a letter attributed to the conversation-shy former deputy governor of the Malaysian Central Bank, the Bank Negara Malaysia, Sukhdave Singh, the latter hinted at cloudy moments before his resignation.
He may have hinted that the leadership at the central bank is not what it was prior to the arrival of the current governor Muhammad Ibrahim, talking of ‘bullying’ and giving a mini-lecture to the ‘leadership’.
The resignation came as a surprise to many in the business and banking world, but it was expected since Mr. Singh could not foresee any more promotion at the BNM.
He had another few months to go before he quit, but the letter said to be from him hinted at something sinister that might have led to his abrupt exit.
He said: “All I can say is that my life in the Bank has been based on certain professional expectations, and when I find myself put in circumstances where those expectations can no longer be met, there could have been no other decision for me.”
“It is also never acceptable to use bullying as a means to exert your leadership. Respect yourself; respect those who work for you,” the letter ended with these scathing remarks.
Rumours had it that Mr. Singh could not agree on the expected interest hike in Malaysia which is slated for January 2018.
But tongues were already waggling two weeks ago when Mr. Singh was absent from a Central Bank briefing on the Malaysian GDP.
The deputy governor is always at such major events at the Sasana Kijang and his absence got some media reps speculating on his fate at the bank.
“These are scheduled events and he would have known in advance that such an event was to take place. He could not have gone on holiday unless he was sick,” said a journalist working for a local daily to TISG.
And sick he might have been since he commented in the letter that his expectations could no longer be met at the BNM. But it would have been a different kind of sickness indeed.
The former deputy is not a very conversant person, reserving his seat at post-event meals or during lunchtime, where he would sit alone and he would apparently eat home cooked food.
“This past week has been an emotional roller-coaster. The days have flown by so fast and saying goodbye has been harder than I had anticipated,” he said in the letter.
But that was it. He did not want to reveal anything more.
TISG asked some experts on the Central Bank’s workings to find out why Mr. Singh would have highlighted some ‘disagreements’ or it would seem based on the letter, but did not want to say any further on the cloudy, emotional days?
The expert said Mr. Singh may have hinted at more than what we may gather from the letter.
Mr. Singh indeed said in the last two paragraphs of the letter that: “If you are in a position of leadership, remind yourself, and remind yourself often, that leadership is a responsibility and not a privilege.”
Did he hint at the changing leadership at the BNM? The state of affairs at the bank, TISG was told, is not the same as it was during the era of former Bank governor Tan Sri Zeti Aziz.
The letter ends with these remarks: “Remember that nothing shines a brighter light into the depths of your character than your behaviour when you believe that you have power over others.
“It is never leadership to try to make yourself look good by depriving your subordinates of opportunities to be their best.