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TJ KB FT AWSJ: Daim Yang Berpergian
By Leslie Lopez
21/4/2001 8:47 am Sat
DAIM YANG BERPERGIAN
Mahathir mengesahkan Daim mengambil cuti panjang selama dua
bulan. Ini menyebabkan spekulasi hubungan dua insan yang
amat berkuasa di Malaysia ini dalam keretakan.
Tidak diketahui apakah Daim akan bersara terus. Tetapi
pemergiannya yang lama itu mungkin akan menyebabkan
ekonomi negara yang sudah melemah itu semakin murung.
Tetapi ia juga bermakna Mahathir kini menguasai SEPENUHnya
ekonomi dan mengemudinya sendiri.
"Tanpa Daim, Mahathir akan mengambil keputusannya sendiri
dalam semua segi.", ujar seorang CEO.
BSKL tidak berganjak dengan berita Daim itu tetapi diramalkan
pelabur akan menjual pegangan di dalam syarikat yang ada kena
mengena dengan Daim, khususnya Renong.
Menurut Mahathir, Daim bercuti kerana penat.
Setengah pegawai kerajaan berpendapat bantahan yang meningkat
dari luar dan dalam Umno sendiri (seperti BBM) terhadap 'bailout'
yang gila-gila serta pengagihan kontrak kepada kroni menyebabkan
Mahathir menjauhkan diri dari Daim. (Dia tidak ingin aib itu
mengena dirinya - Penterjemah)
Menurut mereka yang rapat dengan Daim, beliau kerap kali berselisih
pendapat dengan Mahathir dalam menangani masalah ekonomi dan
Dalam satu majlis makan malam bersama pengarang akhbar media tempatan
Februari lepas, Daim telah menempelak Mahathir kerana gagal
melakarkan barisan pemimpin pengganti. Beliau juga begitu kritikal
terhadap kepentingan bisnes anak-anak Mahathir.
Setengah pegawai Umno pula mengatakan Mahathir telah menunjukkan
keberangannya terhadap Daim, terutamanya kerana kerap tidak hadir
dalam mesyuarat MKT.
Petunjuk mutakhir ketegangan hubungan antara mereka berdua semakin
teserlah lagi bila Mahathir melantik Abul Hassan sebagai penadihat
khas ekonominya. Menurut analis langkah ini dilihat sebagai cubaan
Mahathir untuk menjarakkan diri terlalu bergantung kepada Daim.
Business Times Singapore:
Menurut BTS, perselisihan antara mereka berdua sudah lama - lebih
setahun dulu semasa rancangan penggabungan bank. Daim bercadang
mahu mencantum 58 bank menjadi enam sahaja tetapi Mahathir
menterbalikkannya kepada lebih 6 bank utama.
Lim Kit Siang:
Lim Kit Siang mendedahkan Ali Abul Hasan (ketika menjadi Gabenor
Bank Negara) telah menyebelahi Mahathir ketika bertekak dalam isu
bank tersebut dan mahu menambahkan dari 6 bank kepada 10. Daim
dikatakan menamatkan khidmat Ali Abul Hasan di Bank Negara kerana
itu untuk digantikan dengan Zeti.
Baru-baru ini Mahathir membentangkan pakej rangsangan RM3 bilion
di LUAR parlimen sedangkan ia sepatutnya diumumkan oleh Menteri
Kewangan, yakni Daim.
Begitu juga dengan pengurangan potongan KWSP dari 11% kepada 9% -
ia diumumkan oleh Mahathir sedangkan itu tugas Daim.
Umum mengetahui Daim tidak hadir dalam pembentangan OPP3 baru-baru ini.
Beliau juga sudah tidak muncul dalam mesyuarat MKT.
Rencana Financial Times menyebut tawaran Singtel untuk membeli
time dotCom turut menjadi punca pergaduhan mereka berdua.
"Pemergian Daim di saat kritikal sebegini adalah amat simbolik.
Tidak diketahui siapa lagi yang bersama Mahathir. Tidak ada sesiapa
pun tahu setepatnya apa yang berlaku"
Daim bersetuju untuk menjawat Menteri Kewangan semula setelah
Anwar dipecat. Selepas pilihanraya dan Anwar dipenjara mulalah
kroni diselamatkan dengan pelbagai cara samada melalui pembelian
saham lebih mahal walaupun terbuka lebih murah (MAS Tajuddin),
atau IPO dan underwriter (Time dotCom - Renong), atau terbuka
(KWAP - CAHB/Renong) atau Bon (LRT - Renong).
"Banyak orang merasa Daim sedang menunjukkan satu bentuk
protes atau penyanggahan (dengan sedikit lainnya)"
Malaysia kini sedang menuju satu musibah yang mungkin lebih dahsyat
di hadapan kerana dua kunci terbesar ekspot negara - sektor
elektronik dan minyak kelapa sawit - penyelamat sebenar (selain
kenaikkkan harga minyak dunia) Malaysia semasa krisis ekonomi
1997-98 kini terancam akibat kawalan matawang dan kekurangan
permintaan serta stokpail berlebihan. Yen pula dijangka merosot
lagi kerana kemelut politik dan ekonomi Jepun dan formula baru
mereka "quantitative easing" (David deRosa - Bloomberg) tetapi
Malaysia tidak dapat menukar nilai RM sekarang kerana ekonomi
begitu melemah dan tidak stabil. (Ariff - MIER)
Apa yang berlaku di Turki amat menakutkan pemimpin negara kerana
akan huru-hara ekonomi jadinya jika kawalan matawang diapungkan
segera. Kadar faedah yang rendah masakini menyebabkan setengah
orang kaya Umno sendiri dan beberapa syarikat besar menyimpan
wang mereka di luar negara sehingga rezab antarabangsa negara
merosot sahaja. Lagipun, mereka yang kaya ini risau juga apa
yang bakal terjadi kepada negara Malaysia yang dikerjakan oleh
Mahathir yang sudah tidak betul bekerja.
Kali ini Mahathir tidak dapat menyalahkan orang lain lagi kerana
apa yang berlaku kini adalah kerana sentuhan dirinya sendiri juga.
Satu persatu wawasannya dan kedegilannya sedang menjerut dirinya.
Krisis Yen di Jepun dan Kemelesetan ekonomi Amerika sedang menguji
kawalan matawangnya - dan memang bergoncang kita dibuatnya. Oleh
kerana kesannya mungkin berlanjutan hingga akhir tahun ini, kita
terpaksa bergantung harap kepada dana dalam negara - malangnya ini
sudah ditebuk untuk kroni semua. KWSP sendiri tidak membayar bunga
(dalam Star LRT) meminjam wang dari bank tempatan lebih setahun
lamanya dan kini terpaksa menghadapi piket MTUC bulan Mei nanti
sudah malu-malu muka. KWAP pula sudah rugi RM500 juta atas kertas
sahaja. Alamat semakin papa dan kedanalah kita...... dalam keadaan
sebegitu bergaya dengan menara dan projek raksaksa yang memecah
Tetapi salah kita juga kerana tidak mendesak kerajaan secukupnya
dan segarangnya. Jika rakyat membanjiri jalanraya - Mahathir sudah
lama meninggalkan negara dan mungkin tidak akan kembali lagi
selama-lamanya kerana menjadi saksipun dia sudah kecut bagai nak
gila - inikan pula berada di kandang orang yang bersalah untuk
dituduh memfitnah, membunuh, rasuah, menyeleweng dan mencuri dana
-TJr Kapal Berita-
The Asian Wall Street Journal
Malaysian Finance Minister to Take
By LESLIE LOPEZ
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad
said that Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin will take an unprecedented
two-month leave of absence, fueling speculation of a widening rift
between two of Malaysia's most powerful politicians.
Dr. Mahathir, speaking to reporters Thursday, declined to say whether
Tun Daim's plans were a prelude to his retirement. But coming at a
time when Malaysia's economy is bracing for a slowdown, the finance
minister's long absence could cloud the country's economic outlook.
That is because it will give 75-year-old Dr. Mahathir -- the
strong-willed leader who has relied heavily on Tun Daim's advice
throughout his almost 20 years in power -- sole control of Malaysia's
"Apart from Daim, there are very few who would dare challenge Mahathir
over economic policy," says the chief executive of a publicly listed
company who knows the two politicians well. "With Daim out of the way,
Mahathir will very much decide on everything."
News of Tun Daim's long vacation plans hurt sentiment on the Kuala
Lumpur Stock Exchange Thursday and dashed hopes of a rally on the back
of a cut in U.S. interest rates overnight. The benchmark composite
index barely moved, falling 0.01 point to 570.01 points. Brokers and
investment analysts say that the Malaysian market -- especially
companies linked to conglomerate Renong Bhd., which is closely
associated with Tun Daim -- is likely to face selling pressure in
In remarks to reporters at a resort outside Kuala Lumpur, Dr. Mahathir
confirmed growing speculation that Tun Daim planned to take a lengthy
leave of absence. "Daim is tired," Dr. Mahathir said, adding that
Entrepreneur Development Minister Nazri Aziz will stand in for the
finance minister at cabinet meetings. When asked whether the vacation
was a prelude to 63-year-old Tun Daim's leaving office, Dr. Mahathir
replied: "If you ask me and I answer, he might get angry."
Tun Daim declined to be interviewed for this article, and aides to the
finance minister dismissed talk that he is planning to retire. They
noted that rumors of differences between Dr. Mahathir and Tun Daim
have circulated in Kuala Lumpur for more than a year.
But several political analysts and businessmen close to the government
believe that the likelihood of Tun Daim leaving Dr. Mahathir's cabinet
appears to have increased. They note that the rift between the two men
has deepened in recent months over policy issues. One sore point is
Tun Daim's role in decisions affecting Malaysia's corporate sector.
Several analysts point out that Tun Daim, a longtime confidant of Dr.
Mahathir who is serving his second stint as finance minister, may have
become a political liability to his boss by supporting controversial
rescues of politically connected Malaysian companies and
businesspeople. State-backed bailouts of businessmen close to Tun Daim
-- particularly the government's 1.8-billion-ringgit ($473.7-million)
rescue of Malaysian Airline System and the purchase of shares in a
telecommunications unit of the Renong group with public pension funds
-- have angered many Malaysians. Among them are many ethnic Malays who
have soured on Dr. Mahathir's government in recent years.
Several government officials also say grumbling within Dr. Mahathir's
political party that Tun Daim has favored close business associates in
the award of government contracts has grown louder in recent months,
forcing Dr. Mahathir to distance himself from his finance minister.
"To win back support ... Mahathir knows he can't afford to ignore the
sentiment on the ground about all these bailouts," says a senior
politician in Dr. Mahathir's ruling United Malays National
Organization, or UMNO.
Personal, Political Watershed
Should Dr. Mahathir and Tun Daim finally part company, it would mark a
personal and political watershed for the two men. During Dr.
Mahathir's nearly two decades in power, Tun Daim has been Malaysia's
most-influential economic-policy maker and was long considered Dr.
Mahathir's most-trusted aide. As UMNO treasurer since 1984, Tun Daim
also collected and managed the political funds that helped keep the
prime minister firmly in power. Tun Daim's clout expanded
significantly after Dr. Mahathir sacked his onetime heir apparent and
then-Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim in 1998, accusing him of sexual
misconduct. Dr. Mahathir then reinstalled Tun Daim -- who had served
as finance minister from 1984 to 1991 -- in the finance portfolio.
Most Malaysian businessmen view Tun Daim as the second-most-powerful
figure in the country because of his sweeping ministerial powers and
his UMNO fund-raising role.
But over the past year or so, talk of a falling out between Tun Daim
and Dr. Mahathir has spread. Such speculation has been periodically
dismissed by UMNO officials. However, several people close to Tun Daim
say that, in recent months, the finance minister has privately
acknowledged having policy differences with Dr. Mahathir. During a
private dinner with several editors from local news organizations in
late February, for example, Tun Daim lamented over Malaysia's
political malaise, which he blamed on Dr. Mahathir's failure to put a
leadership succession in place. According to people familiar with that
meeting, the finance minister was also critical of some of the prime
minister's children's business interests.
Some UMNO officials say that Dr. Mahathir, too, has displayed
irritation with his finance chief, particularly over Tun Daim's
repeated failure to attend meetings of the UMNO Supreme Council, the
party's top policy-making body.
The latest indicator of tension between the two men appeared early
this week when Dr. Mahathir appointed former central-bank governor Ali
Abul Hassan Sulaiman as his special economic adviser. Political
analysts and businessmen close to the government say the move is
widely seen as a bid by the premier to seek independent counsel on
economic matters and wean himself from his dependence on Tun Daim.
Malaysia finance minister on two months' leave, not quitting
KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 (AFP) - Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad Thursday
denied Malaysia's powerful finance minister Daim Zainuddin was resigning,
saying he was just taking two months' leave.
"He is not leaving in the first place. Just going on leave," Mahathir told
reporters when asked about any resignation plans by Daim.
"He's only not attending cabinet meetings and UMNO (ruling party) supreme
Asked if he has a replacement in mind should Daim resign, Mahathir said: "We
will cross that bridge when we come to it.
"At the moment we have no plans to appoint a new minister of finance because
we've not reached that stage."
Mahathir, who had earlier declined comment on a possible resignation, said
he thought Daim was "tired."
Speculation about a resignation helped erode stock market gains.
The finance minister, widely considered Malaysia's second most powerful man
after Mahathir, has often said he wants to quit politics.
There have been frequent rumours of rifts with the premier but both men have
said in the past they are able to work with each other.
Mahathir said earlier in the day there was no need for an acting finance
minister since Daim was still visiting his office and going through
documents and letters.
He said Daim would be represented in cabinet by Entrepreneur Development
Minister Nazri Aziz.
A government official said Daim had been on leave for a week.
"Rumours of him being relieved are not true," the official told AFX-Asia, an
AFP-affiliated financial newswire.
"He will be in the office as usual and will be clearing (his work). He is
just taking leave from official meetings. No one is relieving him."
The official denied rumours that Daim took leave to protest against the
appointment, announced this week, of former central bank governor Ali Abul
Hassan Sulaiman as one of Mahathir's economic advisers.
Share prices turned lower in midafternoon trade after a brief run-up, with
news of Daim's leave undermining already shaky market confidence. The main
index closed almost unchanged from Wednesday.
"There has been speculation about him resigning for as long as I can
remember," said WorldSec Securities senior analyst Peck Boon Soon.
"Certainly, people will link this bit of news to (speculation of) his
Daim, 62, was born in the same village as Mahathir. He was finance minister
from 1984 until returning to the private sector in 1991.
He was brought back into the cabinet in June 1998 as special functions
minister to promote economic recovery, dealing a blow to then-finance
minister Anwar Ibrahim.
April 18, 2001
New Mahathir adviser won't erode Daim's clout
Ali Abul Hassan will oversee Economic Planning Unit: officials
By Eddie Toh in Kuala Lumpur
An official said the appointment of former central bank chief Ali Abul
Hassan Sulaiman will not affect Mr Daim's portfolios of Finance and Special
'Ali will oversee the Economic Planning Unit (EPU),' said an official,
referring to the agency under the Prime Minister's Department that handles
the country's privatisation drive.
Mr Ali, also formerly EPU's director-general from 1991-1998, is the second
high-ranking official to be named adviser to Dr Mahathir.
Last year, the premier named ex-central banker Nor Mohamed Yakcop - the man
credited with the decision by Malaysia to impose capital controls in
September 1998 - as his adviser on finance-related matters.
Unlike the appointment of Mr Nor Mohamed Yakcop, the latest appointment of
Mr Ali has not re-ignited rumours of a growing rift between Dr Mahathir and
The fissure between the two political bigwigs was more apparent over the
blueprint to consolidate the banking sector in 1999.
Mr Daim and Bank Negara had initially picked six banks to house the
country's 58 financial institutions in the forced merger programme.
However, Dr Mahathir, after much lobbying by disgruntled bankers who were
left out of the plan, reversed the decision and allowed more than six
'anchor' banks to emerge in a market-driven approach.
Mr Daim and Bank Negara had initially picked six banks to house the
country's 58 financial institutions in the forced merger programme.
However, Dr Mahathir, after much lobbying by disgruntled bankers who were left out of the plan, reversed the decision and allowed more than six 'anchor' banks to emerge in a market-driven approach.
Murmurs of the purported rift have also died down as Dr Mahathir continued
to rely on Mr Daim to help steer the economy, which is set to register a
slower growth rate of under 6 per cent this year against 8.5 per cent last
Dr Mahathir has roped in Mr Daim twice to help revive the economy in the
last 15 years - first in the mid-1980s recession, and, more recently, in
1998 when the country slipped into its worst recession.
The appointment of Mr Ali is not expected to change the course of the
Malaysian economy. Dr Mahathir and Mr Daim have agreed on the strategy to
further pump-prime the economy and maintain a loose monetary policy to
sustain economic growth this year.
Daim on way out?
Media Statement by DAP National Chairman Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on
Wednesday, April 18, 2001:
Is Daim on the way out as Finance Minister with Ali Abul Hassan Sulaiman as
the de facto Finance Minister
The announcement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad that
Tun Daim Zainuddin is taking two months' leave has come like a thunderbolt
on a debilitated stock market, reconfirming that something is fundamentally
wrong with the governance and the market in Malaysia.
Yesterday, when the major Asian stock markets rallied, driven by positive
news out of the United States technology sector and a weakening of the US
dollar against the yen, Malaysia was the exception. South Korean stocks made
the biggest gains, with the Korea Composite Stock Price Index climbing 5.1%.
IIn Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 Index surged 4.4%. The Thai stock benchmark
advanced 3.7% while the share indexes rose nearly 3% in Hong Kong and
Singapore. Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI), however, went south
and dragged stocks down for a second day, declining by 0.88%!
This sorry tale has been repeated today. At about 4 p.m., the major Asian
stock markets continued their rallies, with their share indexes chalking up
gains: South Korea 4.32%, Singapore 2.57%, Taiwan 1.81%, Thailand 1.76% and
Japan 1.66% while Malaysia continued to be the "sick man" of the Asian
dragons and tigers, declining by 0.25%.
There have been frequent rumours of rifts between Mahathir and Daim, and the
question uppermost in the country and market is whether the latest
development presages a final break-up of the two leading to Daim's departure
as Finance Minister.
Officially, the government has denied that Daim was resigning or has been
been relieved as Finance Minister or that he took leave to protest against
the appointment, announced this week, of former central bank governor Ali
Abul Hassan Sulaiman as one of Mahathir's economic advisers.
"He was already on leave before the appointment," an official said.
Mahathir told reporters Daim had informed him that he wanted to rest.
"Daim is tired," he said. Mahathir said there would not be an acting finance
Daim would be represented in cabinet by Entrepreneur Development Minister
"Daim is still around and he goes to the office once in a while to check on
documents," the premier added.
A government official said Daim had been on leave for a week.
Malaysians must find these developments in the stewardship of the country's finances most bizarre and irresponsible:
- Lim Kit Siang -
The Financial Times, UK
Malaysian finance chief 'on leave'
By Sheila McNulty
Daim Zainuddin, finance minister and trusted lieutenant of Malaysia's
prime minister, on Thursday made a surprise decision to take an
extended leave of absence. The decision comes an awkward time for
Dr Mahathir's ruling party is losing ground to the opposition, the
economy is slowing, social tensions have been heightened by an unusual
spate of fatal racial attacks, and criticism is mounting over the
arrest last week of seven opposition activists under security laws
allowing detention without trial.
"To have your most loyal lieutenant leave you at a politically
critical time is very symbolic," says Victor Savage, co-ordinator of
the South-east Asian Studies Programme at the National University of
Singapore. "People will read the worst possible scenarios into that
Dr Mahathir may have created more uncertainty about the two-month
leave for a "tired" Mr Daim. When asked whether it set the stage for
Mr Daim's resignation, Dr Mahathir said: "That you've got to ask him.
If you ask me and I answer, he might get angry."
Nazri Aziz, the undistinguished but reliable entrepreneur development
minister, is to stand in for Mr Daim. Dr Mahathir has appointed Ali
Abul Hassan Sulaiman, former central bank governor, as his special
adviser, presumably to ensure he is briefed on the rapidly slowing
The Asian Development Bank yesterday forecast growth of 4.9 per cent
this year, down sharply from 8.5 per cent last year. The government is
predicting 5-6 per cent growth because of the slowdown in exports to
the US, a key market.
Analysts predict growth will be hit further by an inability to
maintain a competitive currency due to Malaysia's fixed exchange rate.
"Clearly business conditions have deteriorated," says Mohamed Ariff,
head of the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, the country's
top think tank.
Analysts say political uncertainties brought by Mr Daim's departure
can only aggravate the myriad problems facing Dr Mahathir in his 20th
year in power. "I don't know who is with him any more," Mr Savage
says. "Nobody knows precisely what is happening."
Mr Daim has been seen as Dr Mahathir's trusted ally since the 1980s,
when he began serving as treasurer of the ruling UMNO party. He first
worked as Dr Mahathir's finance minister between 1984-91, when he
guided the economy out of recession.
When the regional financial crisis hit in mid-1997, Mr Daim was a
successful businessman with no interest in returning to politics. But
he agreed to become finance minister again after Anwar Ibrahim was
sacked as finance minister and deputy prime minister.
Mr Anwar, who was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for committing
sexual misdeeds and abusing his power to conceal them, maintains he is
the victim of a plot to keep him from challenging Dr Mahathir's reign.
He had supported International Monetary Fund prescriptions for the
economy despite Dr Mahathir's objections. The prime minister trusted
Mr Daim to steer the country through the crisis without undermining
Despite Mr Daim's success at reviving growth, he and Dr Mahathir are
widely believed to have disagreed on several contentious issues, such
as whether to let Singapore Telecommunications buy into the Malaysian
telecommunications sector and how tightly to consolidate the banking
"Most people do think Daim is registering dissent of some kind," says
KS Jomo, political economist at the University of Malaya.