A FEW months before the March 8 general election, former Finance Minister and Umno Treasurer Tun Daim Zainudiin warned the Barisan Nasional to watch out for the political restlessness in Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor.
As it turned out, the four states in the peninsular's west coast fell to the Pakatan Rakyat in an unprecedented show of the people's displeasure against the national coalition spearheaded by Umno.
Daim's warning then met with disbelief in some quarters. Today, Daim spoke again but this time on the national economy. "The Government must come out with various innovations to win public confidence. Malaysia also needs political stability. Without political stability, there is uncertainty and many fear there will be chaos."
Daim made these remarks in an interview with the Malaysian Business in its July 16 issue. Busy as ever in his international banking businesses, Daim answered questions ranging from the ringgit, the stock market, non-performing loans of banks, inflation and fuel prices.
One has to read the full interview to get the complete perspective of what Daim has to say. He was also asked to compare the financial crisis of the 1997/98 years with that of today, particularly in the manner in which it was handled then and today.
Some quotes from the interview: "People want to know whether the Government has options. They want to know if the Government is on top of these problems. If they know, then they will have faith in the Government and continue to support it....
"I think the Government should tell people the facts. Share with them the figures you have. Prepare for the worst. They will support the Government if they are told the truth. But the Government must have a plan on how to handle this tough problem.
"Once the Government has got the Action Plan, implement it and stick to it. No flip-flops." I think Daim's words should be heeded this time, considering his warning earlier this year on the political developments in the four states.
Mind you, he was asked to take the country out of the financial crisis in 97/98, which he did successfully, and was later drafted into the Cabinet for the second time in 1999. He left two years later and is happy tending to his crop of banks all over the globe.