Laman Webantu   KM2A1: 4614 File Size: 12.9 Kb *

Resignation Of Daim

3/6/2001 9:03 am Sun

[Persoalannya Mahathir tahu tetapi berpura-pura tidak tahu dan sanggup berbohong tidak tahu menahu. Malah Mahathir membiarkan Daim terlalu lama kerana dia pun tumpang sekaki juga membalun harta negara dan harta Umno.... Daim memegang banyak kunci rahsia termasuk berjuta-juta wang Umno yang sudah entah kemana dikerjakannya buat mereka berdua ketika krisis ekonomi menjenguk tiba. Ini mungkin punca sebenar Daim meletak jawatan kerana mengsonglap wang Umno. Fokus harus diberi kepada peletakkan jawatan dalam Umno - bukan dalam kabinet sahaja. Dengan melepaskan jawatan itu beliau tidak perlu membentangkan kira-kira kemana wang Umno itu sudah dikerjakannya. Isu penyelewengan dalam kabinet atau kerajaan dijangka akan menutup isu penyelewengan tabung Umno agar akar-umbi merasa sudah lega.... padahal itu lebih dahsyat adanya.
- Editor

Straits Times of Singapore
2nd June 2001


Was he too candid for his own good?

His outspokenness on politics and the economy during closed-door sessions with various groups has backfired

By Brendan Pereira

IT WAS just a matter of time.

The odds that Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin could continue to remain in the government were stacking up every day over the past few months.

Umno members were complaining that he was tight-fisted as the party treasurer and corporate figures were alleging that he was playing favourites and the closed-door pep-talk sessions he was having with different groups were coming back to haunt him.

At these sessions, he spoke candidly about politics and the Malaysian economy.

During a meeting with 30 members of Umno Youth earlier in the year, he spoke of the fear of the ruling party not waking up from its slumber and finding itself losing more support of the Malays.

He also said that there was a need to tackle issues like corruption, money politics and political regeneration more seriously.

Several Youth members were surprised that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad's trusted lieutenant was speaking so candidly.

After that meeting, some of them began speculating on a rift between Tun Daim and the Premier.

The situation became so bad that aides to the Finance Minister had to go on a damage-control exercise with Umno Youth members.

It was too late.

A short while later, Tun Daim met a group of newspaper editors and again spoke with candour about the political scene.

Again, there was a backlash.

Stories of a political conspiracy started making the rounds. The Straits Times found that some of the editors had been asked to repeat what transpired at the meeting.

Apparently, Tun Daim felt he needed to be candid at those sessions to jolt his party members and the establishment into taking the challenge from the opposition seriously.

There was only one problem. By now, many believed that all was not right between him and the man who appointed him Finance Minister on two occasions - once in the 80s when the country was in the throes of a gut-wrenching recession and in 1998 when Deputy Premier Anwar Ibrahim was sacked.

Unlike before, purveyors of the speculation came from the corridors of power.

The rumour mill got a boost after Dr Mahathir appointed former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Ali Abul Hassan Sulaiman as his economics adviser.

It was common knowledge that the banker and the Finance Minister did not see eye to eye on several issues, including the merger exercise of Malaysian banks.

However, at a recent closed door meeting with Umno Youth members, Tun Daim said that though he sometimes had differences with Dr Mahathir, he would never betray or undermine him.

That loyalty will see him go without kicking or screaming. He will return to being Tun Daim Zainuddin, the businessman.

Daim quits all govt positions

It is unclear if the PM accepted his resignation but sources say that Mahathir has known of the finance minister's plan to go for some time

By Brendan Pereira


KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin quit from all his government positions yesterday, ending the buzz of speculation over his future in the Mahathir administration.

The Straits Times understands that the diminutive politician sent in his letter of resignation at 3 pm to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, saying that he wanted to give up his position as finance minister, special functions minister, executive director of the National Economic Action Council and chairman of the Langkawi Development Authority.

He is also stepping down as the treasurer of the United Malays National Organisation (Umno), the ruling party.

Up till press time last night, it was unclear if Dr Mahathir had accepted the letter of resignation.

Sources, however, said that the Premier had known Tun Daim's intention of leaving the Cabinet for some time.

It is believed that the finance minister spoke to some officials over the past few days and told them that when he returned to the Cabinet in 1998, he did not have plans to stay on too long.

He also said that he was tired and needed to rest, pointing out that he had been working at full throttle for the last 2 1/2 years.

If his resignation is accepted by Dr Mahathir, there is unlikely to be any political fallout.

For a start, he will remain as the Member of Parliament for Merbok in Kedah.

He has exhibited little political ambition over the years, declining to contest the just-concluded divisional elections or build a network of supporters as is the practice of Umno leaders with an eye on the top job.

It is understood that he has told the Premier that, if possible, Umno's treasurer should be a young politician.

The capital was in a frenzy yesterday morning after influential Malay daily Utusan Malaysia published a front-page report on rumours that the finance minister was going to leave office that day.

Journalists, politicians and fund managers were expecting an announcement or a statement from the Prime Minister's Office but there was none.

On his return from the G-15 meeting in Jakarta in the morning, the Prime Minister was asked if he had received a letter of resignation from Tun Daim.

He said that he had not.

If the letter of resignation is accepted, another round of intense speculation can be expected.

This time, it will centre on Tun Daim's replacement.


He was seen as Malaysia's second-most powerful man

TUN DAIM Zainuddin was born on April 29, 1938 in Alor Star, Kedah. He studied law in London before going into business in the late 60s.

He pioneered the first Malay property-development company and was appointed the head of Peremba, a government property-development firm, and Fleet Holdings, Umno's investment arm.

When Dr Mahathir Mohamad became Prime Minister in 1981, Tun Daim became his trusted confidant.

Much of Tun Daim's mystique dates back to his stint as Finance Minister from 1984 to 1991.

Even his detractors give him credit for helping turn Malaysia into one of South-east Asia's most affluent nations.

He was brought back into the government in 1998 to help put the Malaysian economy back on track.

Reappointed as Finance Minister in 1999, Tun Daim helped attract foreign investment and reformed the banking system.

Umno's treasurer for six terms, he was seen as Malaysia's second most powerful man after Dr Mahathir.

The Business Times, Singapore
2nd June 2001

Daim said to have thrown in the towel

But Mahathir yet to decide if he will accept Daim's resignation

By Eddie Toh

MALAYSIAN Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin has finally sent in his resignation, ending months of intense speculation as well as closing a chapter in his long-standing partnership with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

The Straits Times TV said last night Mr Daim handed in his letter of resignation yesterday afternoon, but the premier has not decided if he will accept it.

The widely expected resignation came at the end of his two-month leave on May 31.

Earlier in the day, Dr Mahathir, who returned to Malaysia yesterday after attending the G-15 summit in Jakarta, dismissed rumours that his chief economic adviser has quit, but did not attempt to quash the flurry of rumours.

'Setakat ini, belum lagi (at this stage, not yet),' he told reporters who asked if Mr Daim had quit.

Political analysts said the premier is expected to accept Mr Daim's resignation as the two men have not been seeing eye-to-eye over a host of issues. Likely candidates to replace Mr Daim include former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Domestic Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Analysts said the departure of Mr Daim is not likely to lead to a radical shift in the government's economic policy, as the two leaders have agreed on the general thrust for the economy following the onset of the Asian financial crisis in 1997.

Mr Daim had repeatedly defended Dr Mahathir's controversial decision to impose capital controls in September 1998. The two men have also been consistent on the need for the government to pick up the economic slack through pump-priming measures and the policy of keeping interest rates soft to help the private sector cope with its burgeoning debts.

But there is likely to be a fresh approach to the country's privatisation policy and the restructuring of the debt-laden private sector. This is because some decisions by Mr Daim, who was appointed finance minister in 1999 following the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim, had apparently irked Dr Mahathir and made his administration unpopular with the public and the business community.

One of the earliest signs of a rift was in 1999 when Dr Mahathir overturned Mr Daim's plan to create six super banks through a forced merger programme.

Mr Daim had excluded three banks controlled by associates of Mr Anwar - Hong Leong Bank, RHB Bank and Arab-Malaysian Bank - and picked smallish Multi-Purpose Bank to swallow much bigger banks. Multi-Purpose Bank is controlled by associates of Mr Daim.

The two leaders were also said to be at odds over Singapore Telecommunications' failed plan to tie up with Time dotCom, the telecom arm of Halim Saad, a protege of Mr Daim.

Perhaps, the most unpopular move made by Mr Daim was his decision to pay RM8 per share to buy 29.09 per cent in Malaysian Airline System from Tajudin Ramli, another protege of Mr Daim.

The price tag was more than twice the national carrier's net tangible assets.

And public uproar intensified when three government agencies under Mr Daim's purview emerged as substantial shareholders of Time dotCom following its initial public offering flop earlier this year.

Signs of Mr Daim's imminent departure became clearer when Dr Mahathir appointed a former central bank governor as his second financial adviser in April.

Further confirming the writing on the wall for Mr Daim, the government made several major decisions during his absence - the scrapping of the 10 per cent exit levy on repatriation of equity funds by foreign portfolio managers and sweeping changes to rules governing foreign ownership of properties.

And earlier this week, Dr Mahathir overturned Mr Daim's decision to issue RM6 billion (S$2.85 billion) worth of bonds to rescue two light rail operators, one of which is controlled by Mr Halim's Renong Bhd.

Mr Daim's departure may therefore cloud the future of companies linked to his associates. They include a long list of listed firms such as Renong, United Engineers Malaysia, Time dotCom, Multi-Purpose Holdings Bhd, Technology Resources Industries, Naluri and Land & General.

But the decision will bring a sigh of relief to tycoons like Quek Leng Chan, Azman Hashim and Rashid Hussain whose banks have been excluded by Mr Daim from the first bank merger blueprint.

Mr Rashid's plan to raise his stake in his RHB Bank in March had also been scuttled by Mr Daim.

Observers said Dr Mahathir may have no choice but to part company with Mr Daim, a relationship that went back over three decades.

'If Daim doesn't go, it could affect Dr Mahathir's own political future,' said a senior executive of a listed company, which has been awarded a multi-billion ringgit privatisation contract.