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April 22, 2008

Wawancara Bersama Tun Daim (Siri Dua)


Wawancara Bersama Tun Daim Zainuddin di Wisma YPR pada 15/04/2008 jam 5.00 petang.

Tun Daim Dakwa BN Kalah Kerana

“Irrational Optimism”


Apakah kelemahan utama ahli-ahli korporat Melayu kini, dulu dan mungkin masa akan datang?


In my opinion, many Malay businessmen before and even now have no staying power. Their tendency is to relax so quickly or alternatively the moment they are successful in one sector, they will start to get involved in so many other sectors without realizing that one sector is different from the other. In the end, they will be overstretched (financially and management wise) with not enough attention given to any sector at all.


At the end of the day, if one wants to be successful, one has to work hard, think smart and not to relax too soon. What is more important is to manage time, manpower and your finance wisely. If they are not able to manage now, I fear that they will not be able to cope in the future in a globalised world.


Boleh Tun ceritakan sedikit bagaimana Tun membangunkan International Commercial Bank (ICB) sehingga dikagumi ramai pihak?


Penglibatan saya dalam industri perbankan sebenarnya bermula di Malaysia, iaitu sekitar awal tahun 80an. Pada tahun 1982, saya menguasai Malaysian-French Bank yang saya beli dari kerajaan Peranchis. I followed the French election closely. I read and understood the policies of President Miterrand. His platform was to nationalize all banks. He was a socialist. In Malaysia, the rule was that we did not allow foreign governments to own banks here, so I knew they have to sell. I approached them and bought them out. Pada tahun 1984, saya melepaskan pegangan saya dalam bank ini dan mengambil alih UMBC. It was a very complicated transaction. Walau bagaimanapun, saya terpaksa melepaskan pegangan saya dalam UMBC tidak lama selepas itu apabila saya dilantik menyertai cabinet YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad ketika itu sebagai menteri kewangan.


Saya mula menumpukan usaha menubuhkan ICB setelah bersara dari jawatan Menteri Kewangan pada tahun 1991. Negara pertama yang saya melabur ialah Czech Republic dan diikuti oleh Hungary di Eropah Timur. Saya bercuti ke negara-negara ini dan melihat keadaan sebenar di sana. Saya jangka mereka akan berubah daripada pengaruh Soviet dan saya percaya peluang perniagaan akan membuka luas selepas itu. Saya buat keputusan menapak di sana.


Dari Eropah Timur, ICB berkembang ke Afrika dengan pembukaan sebuah bank di Ghana pada tahun 1996. Melihatkan potensi yang besar di Afrika, ICB terus mengembangkan rangkaian banknya di benua berkenaan dari setahun ke setahun, dan sehingga kini ICB beroperasi di lapan buah negara kesemuanya – Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone dan Ghana di Barat Afrika dan Mozambique, Tanzania dan Djibouti di sebelah Timur Afrika.


Pada tahun 2003, ICB mengembangkan sayapnya ke Asia dengan pembelian sebuah bank di Indonesia, iaitu Bank Internasional Indonesia melalui sebuah konsortium yang diketuai oleh Temasek Holdings, Singapura. Kini Maybank di Lapur membeli bank ini. Pada tahun berikutnya, ICB secara bersendiri membeli Bank Bumiputera Indonesia dan merupakan pemegang saham utama sehingga hari ini.


ICB baru-baru ini memasuki pasaran perbankan Bangladesh apabila berjaya membeli Oriental Bank yang dilupuskan oleh kerajaan negara berkenaan melalui penawaran tender antarabangsa.


Kami masih lagi berkembang, baik melalui pembukaan bank baru mahupun secara “acuisition.” Kami menyasarkan untuk melebarkan jaringan ke empat atau lima buah negara lagi dalam jangka masa tiga tahun akan datang tertumpu di Afrika dan Asia. Kami juga telah mendapat kelulusan membuka bank di Laos.


Secara ringkasnya, saya telah mengambil masa 15 tahun untuk membangunkan ICB dari hanya sebuah bank bermula di Czech Republic hingga 11 kesemuanya pada hari ini merangkumi tiga benua. Saya perlu tekankan bahawa kejayaan ini tidak boleh dicapai dalam masa yang singkat. Ia memerlukan perancangan yang panjang dan teliti serta usaha kuat dan dedikasi dari semua peringkat di ICB. Saya bersyukur kerana dapat “assemble” a team of dedicated officers. Not easy to convince people to work overseas, especially in Arica.


Kerana inisiatif dan pelaburan saya di Afrika, saya dianugerahkan African Investor 2006. Sebelum ini, Bill Gates pada tahun 2004 dan Richard Branson pada 2005.


Pada pandangan Tun, apakah kesan pilihan raya baru-baru ini ke atas ekonomi Malaysia pada masa akan datang?


Malaysian economy has been performing fairly well. Our exports so far not affected. We have plenty of reserves. Investors will watch the performance of the government. They want tos ee if it moves in the right directions, if the systems are efficient, investors will have confidence in the country. Government has to address issues relating to judiciaty, corruption and delivery system.


Apakah hasrat dan keinginan Tun apabila Tun menubuhkan Bank sendiri di peringkat antarabangsa?


Saya melihat penubuhan ICB ini sebagai usaha menyambut cabaran YAB Dr. Mahathir Mohamad dalam menjayakan idea “South-South Coperation” yang beliau pelopori semasa beliau menjadi Perdana Menteri dulu. Sebagai seorang yang mempunyai pengalaman sebagai ahli perniagaan dan juga memahami sedikit sebanyak selok belok bidang perbankan, saya mengambil keputusan untuk menubuhkan rangkaian bank di Eropah Timur dan Afrika bermula tahun 1993 selepas saya bersara dari jawatan menteri kewangan.


Hasrat saya ialah untuk melihat ICB menjadi dan diakui sebagai sebuah bank antarabangsa yang berjaya, dan dapat bersaing dengan kumpuan bank bank antarabangsa yang ternama. Kita telah mula lihat hasilnya apabila bank ICB di Guinea dan Ghana berjaya mendapat anugerah berprestij Bank Terbaik negara masing-masing dari majalah terulung The Banker.


Satu lagi kejayaan ICB yang sungguh membanggakan ialah apabila ia berjaya menyenaraikan sahamnya di bursa saham London pada bulan Mei tahun lalu. Ini membuktikan yang ICB telah mencapai tahap di mana kumpulan ini diterima oleh pelabur antarabangsa sebagai syarikat yang berjaya dan setaraf dengan kumpulan bank antarabangsa yang lebih awal dibina.


Kejayaan ICB membuktikan yang anak Malaysia boleh bersaing dan berjaya dalam menjalankan perniagaan di luar negara. Saya berharap ia akan menjadi pendorong agar lebih ramai lagi peniaga dan pelabur Malaysia keluar mencari pasaran di luar negara.


Personally I wanted to prove that as a Malay, I can succeed overseas, that even without the NEP if you plan your business properly and work hard, you can still succeed.


Saya nampak sekarang ramai anak Malaysia berniaga di luar negara. Ini satu trend yang baik. It proves that in the case of the Malays, they can succeed and compete globally. Tapi di Afrika tidak ramai anak Malaysia berniaga.


Peluang melabur di Afrika luas sekali. We had this great opportunity during Dr. Mahathir’s time when he started the South-South Co-operation, Langkawi Dialogue and Smart Partnership. There was a lot of goodwill developed. I think the only company that followed through was Petronas and I took opportunity to start the banks. The rest unfortunately did not follow. For reasons known only to themselves, many companies did not go to Africa or left soon after. TM, for example, was in South Africa. Malaysia and South Africa governments have excellent relationship before TM sold off their shares. President Mbeki called me to his residence and told me to inform TM to stay. TM sold anyway. He was hurt and disappointed. We did a lot of ground work with African governments to establish close relationship with them. We wasted the opportunities in Africa.


TM started in Ghana at the same time we started the Ghana bank in 1995 but TM pulled out after a few years. It was disappointing because they had a head start to provide cellular services in Africa. You don’t have to operate land lines if you don’t want to, only relay stations will do and today those companies which came after TM are doing extremely well.


MMC, for example, wa sat one time the biggest mining company in the world. MMC shoud have gone in to Africa to acquire mineral rights and continue to grow as the biggest mineral company in the world. If they had invested in Africa as encouraged by Dr. Mahathir, today MMC would be controlling coal iron ore, diamond. Yang hairan, mengapa tidak dibuat. Saya kurang faham. Instead Malaysian companies went in to build houses which is not bad but if we want to be big and successful, we have to follow what China and India are doing. Sekarang China dan India begitu aktif. Mereka terlibat dalam semua bidang dan kita ketinggalan.


Apakah cabaran utama dalam membangunkan sebuah Bank dan apakah falsafah Tun sehingga boleh berjaya?


Cabaran membangunkan sebuah bank, lebih-lebih lagi di negara-negara yang berlainan adat resam, bahasa, budaya kerja, taraf pendidikan dan kemahiran amat banyak dan ia berbeza dari sebuah negara ke sebuah negara. Yang penting ialah kita hendaklah mempelajari keadaan persekitaran serta mendekatkan diri dengan masyarakat setempat supaya kita faham apa yang mereka mahu dari sebuah bank. Dari sini, kita boleh menyediakan produk dan perkhidmatan yang mereka perlukan.


Saya menceburkan diri di dalam perniagaan perbankan ini bukan sahaja untuk membuat keuntungan. Ini memanglah penting. Tetapi saya juga melihatnya sebagai satu cara untuk saya membantu peniaga setempat yang memerlukan bantuan bank menjayakan usaha mereka.


Pelaburan saya ini hendaklah juga dilihat dari segi sumbangan kepada pembangunan sesebuah negara. Apabila bank saya membuat keuntungan, negara tersebut akan memperoleh cukai. Dengan ini, saya sedikit sebanyak dapat memberi sumbangan kepada pembangunan sosioekonomi negara berkenaan. Inilah falsafah saya.


Ramai yang mengatakan bahawa Tun merupakan seorang yang pendiam tetapi tidak diam dalam melakukan kerja. Bagaimana Tun menguruskan perniagaan Tun sehingga berjaya tanpa disedari oleh ramai pihak?


I am by nature, quiet. I like to listen to people. What is more important is that you will be able to acquire knowledge from people by listening to them.


About running my business, I employ professionals. I only give broad guidelines on policies I want to implement and I monitor their performances. If they do not deliver, then they have to go. If they can perform, they stay and are fairly rewarded. I inculcate in them loyalty, hard work, trustworthiness and efficiency.


Apakah perbezaan antara peniaga Cina, Melayu, India dan orang Eropah pada pandangan dan pengalaman Tun?


The big difference between the Malays and the rest is that the Malays do not have a role model. During the British colonial days, the Chinese, Indians and Europeans were already in business while the Malays were farmers, fishermen and civil servants, so they do not have a role model. It was only after the Independence during the period beginning with Tun Razak and later during Dr. Mahathir’s, that more Malays got into business as a result of the NEP. The government in helping Malays to be involved in business formed government agencies like SEDC, Pernas, MARA, FAMA, Bank Bumi, etc., and once they have one or two successful Malays, the rest tried to emulate them. They became role models. The Malays then also did not have networking because they had nothing to network.


Having said that, the Chinese have very good neworking and work hard, save a lot and they value education. Similarly with the Indians. The Europeans too worked hard to exploit and export commodities like rubber, tin and later palm oil to European markets. For Malays, it was very tough. We had to start from scratch. No banks wanted to lend to us. We had no managers to manage and the Malay Chambers did not have many very successful businessman to assist members who needed help.


Kebanyakan ramalan Tun amat tepat, yang terbaru berkenaan pilihan raya bahawa 4 negeri iaitu Perak, Kedah, Pulau Pinang dan Selangor adalah kawasan panas. Bagaimana Tun boleh melihat sesuatu yang orang lain tidak nampak? Dan apakah pula pandangan Tun berkenaan masa hadapan ekonomi Malaysia? Apa yang kerajaan sekarang harus lakukan agar Wawasan 2020 tercapai?


There is nothing exceptional in my predictions. If only BN had gone around mixing with the people on the gorund, talk to people in the coffee shops, supermarkets, and talk to taxi drivers and housewives, they they feel their anger and disappointment with BN. You must be able to read the mood and feel the pulse of the people. But if you have eyes but do not see, have ears but do not hear dan ada mulut tapi bisu, jadi masalah kepada Bangsa dan Negara.


I have retired and spend most of my time overseas; I am a tourist here and you know how Malaysians love talking to touriest!


In any case, I have experience dealing with people. At one time I was Chairman of Fleet in-charge of newspapers and I was the founder chairman of TV3, I gather information and analyse them and also I was for 17 years, treasurer for BN involved in elections and also I stood for election 5 times for Parliament.


These experiences gave me the knowledge as how to handle the media and the ground. So there is nothing exceptional. Unfortunately the newspapers have now become propaganda for the government. Similarly with the TV stations. People no longer believe the mainstream media but rely on the alternative media. The government is now paying a price for taking the people for granted. People get fed up with government media. They don’t trust what they read or see. They think BN was arrogant and over confident. It was irrational optimism on the part of BN.


On the future of the Malaysian economy, I notice that we are going into agro business which is not a bad idea but unless we are efficient, we will not be able to compete with other countries. For example, rice, I do not think we can compete with Vietnam or Thailand because they are very efficient and are low cost producers.


Look at China and India. Their economies have performed very well and they have become very advanced. Because they are successful, they need commodities and minerals to sustain their economic growth. So they need coal, iron ore, copper and other minerals, and especially oil and gas. Unless they source these and have control over the supplies, it is going to affect their economy. Their appetite for these have pushed prices up and this causes inflation. They have backed their growth with proper planning on manpower. They each produce about 400,000 engineers each year. I think our education system must be reviewed so that we can produce graduates that the market wants, otherwise it is a waste of fund and waste of talent and will result in unemployment.


I don’t know what we are doing with our reserves. It is under Bank Negara. I would put about US$20 billion to invest in minerals and power generation in Africa. If we do our calculations correctly, we will have huge returns. We missed the opportunity in Indonesia. We went in late and paid very high price. We follow others. We should take the lead. We used to have excellent relations with them.


Having said that, we are No. 1 producer of palm oil and amongst the top in the case of rubber. We can still do well but to9 take us further, we need to look into new areas of growth.


I have been out of government for more than 7 years, so it is very difficult for me to advise on what need to be done to achieve Wawasan 2020. I do not have the facts and figures with me and I have been traveling a lot, so it is difficult for me to comment but I am sure the government is aware that to achieve this target, a growth of more than 7% is needed. But the last couple of years, we did not achieve 7% so a lot needs to be done. I am sure PM is looking into this. At present with recession in America with sub-prime problem, we should concentrate on growth, create employment and make sure rakyat gets enough income to live comfortably. The poor according to surveys done, spend 80% of their income on food.


Akhir sekali boleh Tun ceritakan sedikit sejarah awal bagaimana Tun membina ICB serta perkembangan terkini ICB di samping apakah wawasan masa depan Tun terhadap Bank yang Tun tubuhkan ini?


Wawasan saya, yang juga telah diterapkan dalam wawasan dan misi ICB, ialah untuk menjadikan ICB sebagai sebuah kumpulan bank bertaraf dunia dengan fokus utamanya adalah di negara-negara membangun.


Sama saya berjaya terpulang kepada semua yang terlibat dengan saya untuk membangun ICB. Saya telah letakkan batu asas, my successors, I hope, will take it to the next stage. But always remember while profit is important, we must be good corporate citizen. We are guests in the countries we invest in and to be welcome, we do our part to help these countries to do well and prosper.