1MDB asset recovery – think big, small steps, move quickly

Malaysia can flush him out easily if we simply apply pressure on the nerve that rattles him -- his money.

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Published by The Star & The Malay Mail, image from The Star

“Think Big, Small Steps, Move Quickly” were the summary findings of the Industry 4.0 Roundtable arranged by A.T. Kearney, Ekuiti Nasional Bhd (Ekuinas) and Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

It struck me that the Pakatan Harapan government would be well-served to take up this mantra in pursuing its political and economic initiatives.

For instance, how can we apply this to the tragicomedy of Jho Taek Low (or Jho Low), the story of which has hardly gone according to script from the soapbox days of promises on the GE14 campaign trail.

Where’s the rapid-fire justice, the public reckoning and the return of the pilfered billions promised to the rakyat?

Instead, what we have broadcast to the local and foreign public is that we, Malaysians, cannot accomplish this objective without the United States’ Department of Justice (DOJ) or some other external assistance.

Lesson #1: The opportunity we have is enormous: We have aggrandised Jho Taek Low, a key figure in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal, to the point of near invincibility. But what’s his reality? Scurrying in the backwaters like a rat with third-rate country passports.

The truth is that Malaysia can flush him out easily if we simply apply pressure on the nerve that rattles him, namely, his money.

Remember what happened when Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed seized Equanimity from her berth in Indonesia? Jho Low immediately cried foul via his lawyers and PR mouthpieces. Or when his family assets in Penang were frozen? Again he squealed out loud that he was being “politically persecuted”.

Lesson #2. Think global once in a while: Good old Jho Low would have gladly given up former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his wife Datin Rosmah Mansor and her son Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, the Arabs and the Chinese on a sizzling hot plate if we had just kept the pressure up.

We should have gone after the Park Lane Hotel in New York, or his Basquiat art collection at the Geneva Freeport. More than anything else, he hates losing his toys! He comes running to the megaphone every time anyone presses one of those buttons.

Lesson #3: Take small steps towards big goals: When the DOJ cut their deal with Jho Low a few days back, he triumphantly said that he had resolved the matter amicably and with no admission of guilt.

He can’t help himself. It’s a tell, like Trump’s “People are saying” catchphrase every time he delivers another whopper.

Lesson #4: Keep learning from the process: So far we have made ourselves look like an inconsequential and powerless vassal who can only get their way if the Americans let us. If you look at how we have handled the 1MDB asset recovery, this is a clear pattern. We talk big at home, and do nothing outside.

Tactically, we have shown ourselves to be rank amateurs. Instead of fighting Goldman Sachs in New York where it would hurt them, we filed criminal charges against their top executives in Malaysian courts.

They didn’t even bother with a reaction. All we ended up doing was close our capital markets to the big foreign banks.

Lesson #5: Co-create the desired result: In short, what the Jho Low saga shows is Malaysia’s insecurity in asserting itself on the global stage, and its lack of sophistication in fighting fire with fire.

We pitted our civil servants against the world’s top lawyers, bankers, and press executives. Jho Low hired Chris Christie to cut his DOJ deal, and America’s top litigator David Boies was also retained by him.

We desperately need an international team with the relevant expertise. What we have to understand is that taking legal action in Malaysia won’t work since the stolen assets are not here but overseas.

Some might think it’s the job of foreign governments to get back Malaysia’s money for us, but it is not. Malaysia needs to vigorously pursue its rights in foreign courts. There’s no shame in using the best minds on the planet to realise our goals when we need to.

Lesson #6: Let’s stop underestimating ourselves: Jho Low is simply an illustration of the larger problem. Malaysia has been showing the same insecurity against prosecuting previous administration officials and in managing the economy, foreign investment, political reforms, etc, for far too long.

It’s time for a change.

Pakatan has been given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to transform itself from opposition politicians banging on the table into grown-ups wearing the pants and getting things done.

I think this is the main reason the average voter is upset. Jho Low – still at large and traveling freely with multiple passports – is a symptom of a big underlying problem which needs to be addressed.

The good news is that Pakatan still has about three and half years to turn the ship of state around. Our Captain has achieved the almost impossible by getting us through the storm of the previous kleptocratic government, and for that, the nation will always be grateful.

Now, we must move quickly to recognise that there are first mates, engineers and deckhands who can help us reach the destination quickly for the benefit of all Malaysians in the New Malaysia.

Dr. Rais Hussin is President & CEO of EMIR Research, an independent think-tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based upon rigorous research.

文章来源:星洲日报 (Sin Chew)

咨询公司A.T. Kearney、国家股权公司(Ekuinas)和大马数码经济机构(MDEC)在召开第四次工业革命圆桌会议后得出的结论是:“大处著眼、采小步骤、迅速行动”。这让我感到震惊,因为从政治或经济措施来说,如果秉持这个信念,希盟政府可以做得更好。

例如,我们如何将其应用在刘特佐的戏剧性悲剧上,此事从第14届大选竞选许下承诺开始就不按剧本走了。立即实现正义、公开清算,以及承诺向人民归还盗窃的数十亿令吉,这些都在哪里?

反之,我们向本地和外国人宣传的是,如果没有美国司法部或其他诸如此类的外部援助,我们大马就无法实现这一目标。

教训#1:我们拥有巨大的机会:我们已经将刘特佐强化到几乎立于不败之地。但现实是什么?利用第三世界国家的护照,像老鼠一样在死水中窜逃。事实是,如果我们动到他的神经线,即他的钱,大马就可以轻易地将他请出来。

还记得敦马哈迪扣押他在印尼的平静号吗?刘特佐立即通过他的律师和公关大喊犯规。或是当他在槟城的家族财产被冻结时?他再次大呼自己遭到“政治迫害”。

教训#2:想想全球化:如果我们一直施加压力,刘特佐就会很乐意放弃烫手的纳吉、罗斯玛、里扎、阿拉伯人和中国人。

我们应该对准他在纽约的柏宁酒店,或他在日内瓦自由港的巴斯奇亚的收藏画作。他最讨厌失去玩具!每当有人按下这些按钮时,他就会大声嚷嚷。

教训#3:为实现大目标而采取一些小步骤:几天前,美国司法部与他达成协议,刘特佐吹捧说他已经友好地解决了此事,却没有认罪。他情不自禁。就像是特朗普每次在传达另一个谎言时就会不禁说出“人们说……”的口头禅一样。

教训#4:从过程中不断学习:到目前为止,我们已经让自己看起来很无关紧要及无能,我们只有在美国人的允许下才能处理。如果你看一下我们如何收回一马发展公司资产,就可以看到一个清晰的模式。我们在家里说大话,在外面什么也做不了。

在策略上,我们已经证明自己是一流的外行者。我们没有在纽约与高盛决战,这才能伤害他们,我们只是在大马法院对高盛的高级官员提出刑事诉讼。他们甚至不屑反应。我们最终做的是将我们的资本市场与大型外资银行隔离。

教训#5:共创理想成果:简而言之,刘特佐传奇故事显示大马在全球舞台上的脆弱,且在交战中缺乏技巧。

我们让公务员来对抗全球顶尖律师、银行家和新闻界高管。刘特佐聘请克里斯克里斯帝(Chris Christie)来与美国司法部达成和解,而他也聘请了美国最顶尖的诉讼律师大卫·博伊斯(David Boies)。

反过来,我们非常需要一支具有相关国际专业知识的国际团队。我们必须了解的是,在大马采取法律行动是行不通的,因为被盗的资产不在这里,而是在海外。有些人可能认为,外国政府的工作是取回大马的钱,但事实并非如此。大马需要在外国法院大力维护本身的权益。在需要时利用地球上最聪明的人来实现我们的目标并不可耻。

教训#6:不要低估自己:刘特佐只是一个例子。大马长期以来一直表现出同样脆弱──对抗前朝政府官员、经济、外国投资、政治改革等等。

现在是时候改变了。希盟获得了千载难逢的机会,可以摇身变成执政者,并快速成长。

我认为这是选民失望的主要原因。刘特佐仍然强大并持着多本护照自由来去,这是一个更大的潜在问题,需要从根本来解决。

好消息是,还有大约三年半的时间来让这艘船转弯。我们的船长已经让我们安然度过了前朝盗窃政府的风暴,为此,国家将永远感激不尽。现在,我们必须迅速采取行动并意识到我们还有副船长、工程师和工作人员随时准备帮助我们尽快达到目的地,以造福新大马的所有大马人。

莱士胡先是EMIR Research的总裁兼首席执行官,EMIR Research是一家致力于数据驱动型政策研究的智囊团,主要围绕敬业度,适度,创新和严谨原则。

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