It is amazing how we can remember certain things which happened many years ago, yet unable to recall after passing through a door what we had intended to do just moments earlier.
I remember Ku Li as Minister of Finance for having introduced a new road tax policy which effectively made a company owning a Mercedes 300D having to pay Rm36,000 in road tax for the car which costed Rm65,000 when new!
As for Daim, I remember him for having introduced an amnesty for tax evaders, which effectively enabled those who had millions in overseas accounts to bring into Malaysia with no questions asked! But many wondered about questions in your later years' tax returns, which effectively stopped some from doing so. Many people wondered if it was also a chance for Daim to bring his own money back from overseas legally. Oh, how we wish we know someone who handled his tax returns or in charge of his returns at IRD or LHDN.
I also remember Daim as one person who was wearing different hats for a certain period: as Finance Minister, as Umno Treasurer, as crony of PM Dr Mahathir, and as businessman with different nominees fronting him. I can imagine government officials who had to deal with matters in which he seemed to have an interest, to be cowed by his positions and wondered under which hat he was wearing then. We all know about civil servants being more likely to follow orders from above.
'Daim, who had precipitated a near-crash of the stock market in 1994 with his "sell" advice and later named "chief conspirator" by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, has since sparked a media frenzy for a new reason.
It is political punditry, having correctly predicted the outcome of the March 2008 general election; so the NST prodded him for new predictions. We probed his political allegiance and provoked him even as the sessions shifted focus from one hot topic to another.
By the time we were done, newer perspectives and insights had been gleaned from the political events of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the future of Umno, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Anwar, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Lee Kuan Yew, to the rise of China and the Arab Spring (which he jokingly referred to as "the Arab Fall").
The resultant Qs and As will run in two parts. This instalment deals mostly with the immediate political questions.
"If you ask me, between the two, Najib or Anwar, I would choose Najib." ...'
'I want Najib to win, Anwar not fit to be PM'
Don't waste time on Anwar, says Daim
But as Ariff Sabri commented in his post:
'Now even Tun Daim is fearful about UMNO’s impending loss. He has been critical of Najib, UMNO and BN but only to the extent that he was sure UMNO and BN will not lose. So in theory, he like the others felt free to criticise UMNO. But once theory will become reality, even Tun Daim is circumspect...'
It is difficult not to believe Daim is just one of a few perceived to be involved in capital flight from Malaysia years ago, which effectively sabotaged NEP, and gave the impression that the Malays are still behind in equity holdings... more a case of a few beneficiaries at the expense of many who were entitled.