Australian newspaper, The Age (September 9) published what Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim stated to it:
Anwar said that his relationship with Dr. Mahathir was getting worse since bad things happened to Indonesia.
“After Suharto’s fall. I think he was afraid by the incident. By objective, I can tell, the situation of corruption in Indonesia is worse than in Malaysia, but we have the same disease.” But it is clear that Anwar believes what is happening in Indonesia would happen in Malaysia. It also shows that Malaysia might take the same step.
The belief that the problem in Indonesia is similar to the problem in Malaysia is an intellectual disease that often hit a few Malay political activists since before the time of Independence. This is also a disease that was suffered by left-wing Malay nationalists in the Malay Nationalist Party (PKMM) such as Burhanuddin Al-Hilmi, Ahmad Boestamam and Pak Sako.
They thought that Malaya should be following in the footsteps of Indonesia. With admiration for Sukarno, they want to launch a revolution for independence in Malaya and implement a political program (republican, anti-Western) and economy (socialist) following the ways of Sukarno. In fact, they want to merge Malaya with Indonesia.
The fight among those left-wing activists was not accepted and not suitable for the Malays. It would get more dangerous when it is exposed with the invasion by Chinese communist into the region.
UMNO and Datuk Onn were the ones who managed rescue of Malaya from slipping into chaos. Datuk Onn, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Razak understood that Malaya is different than Indonesia. Malay people were not like Indonesia. We want to retain the monarchy and the free market system. Obviously this method has brought prosperity to Malaya, later known as Malaysia.
Anwar and ABIM were dazzled with measures taken by Indonesia.
Now in another age, there are Malays who are still mesmerized by the measures took by Indonesia. They seem to be trying to relate the problem of Indonesia with the problem in Malaysia. They do not see significant differences between the two countries.
Back then, the intellectual influence of the Malay left-wing and rhetoric Sukarno’s Indonesian Revolution, now Anwar, ABIM and his cronies influenced by the struggle of the Reformation in Indonesia and was impressed with the success of the Reform leaders, Amien Rais. But for sure, Amien had no personal problems.
It is known that ABIM figures such as Siddiq Fadil and Sidek Baba has a tendency act and move like Indonesia. In fact, they even spoke in Indonesian language in their speeches.
Reform may be appropriate in Indonesia, but not in this country. Reforms there have their own idealism to solve the problem of people there. Amien Rais may be the right person to be in Indonesia. But student to join reform is not suitable to be used in Malaysia. Malaysia does not have a problem the military involvement in politics. Corruption, collusion and nepotism which trapped Suharto’s regime is never really part of Malaysia. Malaysia has the New Economic Policy that is admired by Western intellectuals and analysts that they are asking Indonesia to copy it.
However, Indonesia still has different problems. Amien Rais is a good man and may he fit to lead Indonesia in one day. Anwar is not as same as Amien. Amien, the leader of Muhammadiyah, and now the head of the Partai Amanat Nasional (PAN) emerged from the struggle of students and the people who demanded reform in Indonesia.
However, Abim is not Muhammadiyah. Anwar even at 70 years-an has emerged from the student movement, but was raised and absorbed into the government by Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Anwar, for 16 years is part of the Malaysian government.
ABIM, although there own Islamic ideals but has supported UMNO and the government, because Anwar has been there for 16 years as well. Anwar and ABIM are not eligible to launch reforms.
Even if they kept it up, they will pollute the ideals of reform itself. For Malaysia, so far, way to solve the problem is the recovery plan outlined by the Prime Minister.
Malaysia had the opportunity to succeed
Support for the way the Prime Minister to address the growing economic crisis among international observers. International Herald Tribune (September 9) published an article written by Marshall Auerback, a global strategic consultant from Veneroso Associates.
He said: “The world did not really care about Mahathir Mohamad last December when he convened the summit of Asian leaders in Kuala Lumpur. Most Western analysts portrayed Mahathir as xenophobe and that his anti-West speeches were just to complete the summit.
“That could be one of the reasons, but more attention should be given to the Kuala Lumpur summit. People of Southeast Asia since the only nodded to everything that the West say but there are no serious intention to implement the IMF solution that would potentially destroy the society.
“Some banks will be closed and some corporations will merge; jobs will be lost and the loan will be reorganized and sold. However, from Tokyo to Jakarta, the clear intent is to promote an environment that region out of recession but avoid structural changes that are considered by IMF as necessary. “
“I am a supporter Keynes where it is conservative,” said Kiichi Miyazawa on the day he was appointed as Minister of Finance of Japan in July. He then stressed that he supports” economic recovery, and not reform.”
“This is more than the policy statement; it better reflects the strategy as well as tactics. Issue is not only economic results for the quarter next year, but keeping an economic model developed at the rate of the region and in the period unequaled in history.
“In this context, we need to note that Malaysia do imposed capital controls. Wall Street and the U.S. State Department were reportedly to have been surprised that Mahathir took this step. They deserve to be surprised. Now we have a case study of a different model than the Anglo-American economic model. Anglo-American model puts its main characteristics as capital flows are not disrupted.
“The new policy has sparked protests Malaysia is not by reason of the Western financial centers. Control said the currency would eliminate an important confidence and Western capital in Malaysia will run.
“What happened to history? With some minor exceptions, capital controls have been done in this region during the Cold War – the era of Asia’s economic miracle – never hinder investment. China, South Korea and Taiwan still maintain control. On capital flight, the figures Kuala Lumpur market shows that companies are supposed to loyal and long-term investment has long left the country.
“We need to understand that capital controls intended to limit inflows, not outflows. Mahathir has concluded that short-term capital from abroad is a lot of damage to the system based on high savings rates and high corporate borrowing.
“Despite of being Condemned by the West, Malaysia’s actions in did not receive any negative responses from East Asia. If Malaysia has spurred growth, there is a chance to succeed, it is an omen of the Anglo-American capitalism is just one model among others. We finally will have the world divided to a few blocks as a result of prolonged economic globalization,” said Auerbeck.
Malaysia had brought a new economic model
What Auerbeck meant in his writing is that when Mahathir managed to overcome the economic crisis by way of Malaysia’s capital controls, it will create a Malaysia-style capitalist economic model, different from the Anglo-American model.
If other countries, particularly in Asia take the approach as an example, it should be considered as an East Asian model that should be accepted by the West as something that can work.
Auerbeck also wrote:
“Many in the West only see Asia and other regions as a market that is driven by market logic and not as a complex society. Asian leaders in the appropriate position to rectify the situation. They may not be implementing the principles of democracy , but their economic success is closely related to the strength of the national community that is challenged by globalization.
Prime Minister’s successor is not a problem
International Herald Tribune published news entitled “Malaysia is concerned over the replacement Mahathir” (7 September).
The foreign media is making the issue of the absence of the Prime Minister’s successor as a problem and would hinder investors’ confidence.
The matter is not a big problem. Prime Minister himself said that if anything happens to him, UMNO will move quickly to choose between the two of the party’s deputy presidents, Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Abdul Razak. Procedures were already in place, and there should not be any issue.
But the foreign media is trying to exaggerate a problem that is not a major problem. First, when Suharto ruled Indonesia, the issue was also raised. They illustrate that Indonesia will become a problem because Suharto did not provide his successor.
According to the constitution of Indonesia, it was already clear that the Vice President, B.J. Habibie was already there. Obviously, when Suharto stepped down, Habibie easily accepted as the President of Indonesia. Although there are objections and the reform movement, but the trouble is not because the question of succession remains.
Actually, the big question for them is not whether a replacement or not, but the question is whether they could substitute for them or not.
So suppose that they are not satisfied with Habibie, foreign media will stir again and called to be substituted with others, perhaps in the name of reform. Such was their intention.
In addition they want is their people, they also want the financial policies that benefit those applied in the country. Policies that benefit them and do not necessarily benefit the people of this country.
So in Mahathir’s monetary policy, they would try to make threats out of it, and may even try bring it to a failure because it does not meet the interests of Western speculators. Freedom of the media for what they are serving the financial interests of the West.
Source: Utusan Malaysia, September, 1998