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Malaysian Blasts Currency Traders

October 1, 1997

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) _ Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said the United States dollar should be replaced as the international monetary reserve currency by a basket of currencies.

Addressing a late Tuesday dinner attended by hundreds of officials, business leaders and academics from Asian and American nations on the Pacific coast, Mahathir again blamed international currency traders for the financial crisis affecting his and other countries in South East Asia.

He used such terms as ``crooks″, ``unscrupulous″ and ``avaricious″ to describe the traders.

``I would like to suggest that we do away with trade in currency as a commodity″, se said.

He also suggested that a country’s currency should be linked to its economic indicators, including per capita income, gross product and growth.

Malaysia has been especially affected by the financial crisis. Its currency, the ringgit, has hit records lows in its quote against the dollar for several days.

Mahathir did not discuss any specific policies to face that situation, but has said he has not yet made up his mind about leaving office by 1999 because of the crisis.

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