Harapan strategists act as an early warning signal

The last thing anyone should do is to shoot the messenger.

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Published by Malaysiakini, images from Malaysiakini

The word 2020, or “Wawasan 2020”, was coined by the likes of the late Nordin Sopiee and Allahyarham Rustam Sani.

The former has a PhD from London School of Economics in political science, the latter the same but from Yale University. Both were top brains that Malaysia lost too early.

They coined Wawasan 2020 in 1990, with one vision in mind – to give Malaysia a ‘perfect’ vision forward. Regardless of which partisan divide, all Malaysians embraced it. Be it MCA or DAP, there was nary a dissent against such a view; as articulated by then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in a speech at the Malaysian Business Council.

Among the list of goals was a GDP growth of 7.5 percent each year to double the size of the Malaysian GDP every decade. Malaysia did not double in size every decade between 1990 and 2000, let alone triple in size by next year. Which is why Wawasan 2020 or “Vision 2020” has to be pushed back to 2025 no thanks to the kleptocracy of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak that has had Malaysia hammered to the wall of debt that has crossed the ceiling of US$290 billion and still growing.

Regardless of the ‘tsunami’ that wrested the power from the hands of Umno and BN, the grip of the old government was strong. It needed policy-preneurs and strategists across all parties that formed Pakatan Harapan and, more importantly, their deep connections to civil society organisations and even overseas Malaysians who had never renounced their ties and sentiments to Malaysia be they in Hong Kong, Hanoi or Hannover.

Take footballer Lim Tiong Kim. He could have made his bread, forever, in Bayern Munich. But the Malacca-born Lim returned to Malaysia to spearhead the growth of Malaysian youth football. Why would the likes of Lim Tiong Kim return? The word is “Malaysia”. We feel at home to serve the country well.

When the likes of me anticipated the groundswell against Harapan after losing the by-elections in Cameron Highlands and Semenyih, we were doing it out of a sheer passion for the country to set the country right.

Blockchain technology, for example, is not just cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum which Bank Negara banned. Blockchain technology – which is increasingly favoured in Japan, the land where Malaysia is supposed to “Look East” to – is gaining in prominence in China and South Korea.

All exports, be they bird nests or the certificates of education or even Bahasa Malaysia or khat, can be blockchained and certified by keying in a series of alphabets. Malaysia is still stuck in the mindset of 4G when the world has moved to 5G; with the caveat of whether we want to put all our faith in Huawei or something else.

The point is simple – countries don’t grow unless there are strategists from all shades and background putting their minds together. As a policy strategist of Bersatu, my job is to provide critical and brutal truths on steering the country forward.

The seven academicians who once helped Emir Research, which I founded, to get the electoral analysis for 2018 right, can get the election analysis for 2023, or for one sooner, right again. Privacy and exclusivity do not allow me to name them individually. But one day, history will name them as visionaries too. 

There are countless of other Malaysians who put on their thinking caps to create Bersih 1 to 5 to tilt the balance against Umno and PAS. No one leader did it on his own. It was a team effort since 1998 or 1970 if the focus is on the National Economic Policy. Even earlier when the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tan Cheng Lock and VT Sambathan went to London to lay the ground for independence. Even Lee Kuan Yew, prior to the separation of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965, played a role.

But Harapan is in trouble when the leaders do not do three things – ignore the manifesto conceived by strategists through laborious constructive engagements with all stakeholders and research; form parliamentary select committees mapped out by the forward-looking thinkers and when they do not listen to their presidential councils. Indeed for the last, some intentionally absent themselves from the meetings, either at the coalition or party level.

All strategists, according to Carl Von Clausewitz, a German military expert in the 19th century, will find that their “strategies” will face what in German is called fritchon, or “friction” in English. One of “frictions” is the difficulty of operationalising the strategies when the top or middle management does not listen fully. Thus, what was a strategy becomes a document that faces enormous resistance even from the word “go”.

Bersatu has that problem as does DAP. Liew Chin Tong, a top strategist of the party, affirmed clearly that there was a “swing” of 20 percent of the votes against BN and Umno in 2018. But he finally admitted that these votes were not due to love for Harapan but for the loathing of the “First Couple” in the previous administration.

Bersatu is a party that seems to want to move Malaysia forward, on freedom of speech, contestation of ideas, a new manifesto and a solid “Vision 2025” forward. But it would not be correct to have the top leaders of Bersatu chastising people who are sensing doom. When Nouriel Roubini from New York University foresaw the Asian Financial Crisis, he was not dismissed as a quack. When Urjit Patel, the Central Bank of India governor, was dismissed by PM Narendra Modi in December last year, he left quietly.

Professor KS Jomo in Malaysia is also warning of the headwinds to be faced by Malaysia. The same goes with Lim Guan Eng, the minister of finance, who warned of an erosion of support for Harapan; and also Wong Chen, the PKR MP for Subang.

Thus, there is a constant need for an optical correction by speaking the truth; even if this has to be spoken to the powers-that-be within the ranks of the government. In all, this is for the good of Malaysia especially when we are celebrating our Merdeka today.

The fact that many have started asking tough questions on the direction of this nation is a sign that many are not in favour of the “new Malaysia” which Harapan is trying to create. I have delivered a wake-up call that is inchoate in the mind of many. The last thing anyone should do is to shoot the messenger. 

Strategists are the early warning predictors. And if we have got it right before against the grain of all political scientists, we will get it right again as our methods are numerically and methodologically rigorous.

Happy 62nd Independence Day!

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)

2020年宏愿,这个词是由已故诺丁苏比(Nordin Sopiee)和鲁斯旦沙尼(Rustam Sani)所创造的。

前者是伦敦经济学院的政治学博士,后者拥有同样学位但毕业于耶鲁大学。两人都是很有思想的人,可惜大马太早失去他们。

他们在1990年创造了2020年宏愿,当时只有一个愿景──为大马的未来提供一个“完美”的愿景。不论党派,所有大马人都将拥抱它。无论是马华还是行动党,都对这个愿景持有不同观点;正如时任首相马哈迪在大马人商业理事会上致辞时所表达的那样。

在目标列表中,有一项是国内生产总值每年达到7.5%增长,每10年增加一倍。1990年至2000年期间,大马的国内生产总值并没有翻倍,更别说明年要达到3倍增长。这就是为什么2020年宏愿要推迟到2025年的原因,这全都归咎于前首相纳吉的盗贼统治,让大马债台高筑,冲破2900亿的上限并持续上升。

无论“海啸”如何导致巫统和国阵失去政权,旧政府的势力仍然很强。它需要的是希望联盟的所有政党来共同制定的政策和策略,最重要的是,他们与公民社会组织的深层联系,甚至是与大马紧密相连的海外大马人,无论他们在香港、河内或汉诺威。

以足球员林长金为例。他本可以,永远地,为拜仁慕尼黑效力。但出生在马六甲的林长金回到大马,率先推动大马青年足球的发展。为什么林长金这样的人会回流?答案就是“大马”。为国家服务的感觉就像回到家里。

当像我这样的人期望希盟败走金马伦和士毛月补选时,我们这么做是出于摆正国家的心态。

例如,区块链技术不仅仅是如国家银行禁止的比特币或以太币等加密货币。区块链技术──大马越来越倾向日本,其实大马更应该“向东学习”的──是日益重要的中国和韩国。

所有出口,无论是燕窝或教育文凭或甚至是马来文或爪夷书法,都可以通过输入一系列的字母通过区块链输出和认证。当世界已经转向5G时,大马仍然停留在4G思维模式;我们是否想把所有信心都放在华为或其他人身上。

重点很简单──除非汇集来自各种肤色和背景的策略家的想法,否则国家就不会成长。作为土团党的政策策略家,我的工作是提供关于指导国家前进的关键和残酷事实。

曾经帮我成立EMIR研究中心的7名学者,而我也是该中心的创办人,可以把2018年的大选成绩做出正确的分析,也可以预测2023年的大选成绩,甚至在之后的大选中,再次做出正确的总结。隐私和排他性让我不能说出他们的名字。但是有一天,历史会承认他们是有远见的人。

有无数其他大马人加入净选盟运动1.0至5.0以对抗巫统和伊斯兰党。没有领袖可以单独做到这一点。从1998年或1970年推行的国家经济政策,全都是团队努力的结果。甚至更早,当已故东姑阿都拉曼、陈祯禄和辛班登到伦敦为独立奠定基础。甚至连李光耀,在1965年新加坡脱离大马之前,都发挥了其作用。

当领袖没有做到这三件事情时,希盟就会陷入困境──无视策略家通过与各利益相关者和研究所制定的宣言;由前瞻性思想家组成的国会特别委员会没有听取主席理事会的意见。最后就是,有些人故意不出席会议,无论是联盟或党内会议。

19世纪德国军事家卡尔冯克劳塞维茨(Carl Von Clausewitz)认为,所有策略家都会发现,德国称之为“策略”的东西,在英语就会变成冲突或“摩擦”。其中一个“摩擦”是当高或中阶管理层没有充分听取意见导致策略难以施展。因此,策略将会变成纸上谈兵并面对巨大的阻力,即使已经得到“可以落实”的保证。

土团党和行动党也有相同的问题。刘镇东,该党的最高策略家,清楚表明2018年的大选中投国阵和巫统出现20%的“摇摆”。但他最终承认,这些选票不是因为他们爱上希盟,而是他们厌烦了前朝政府的“第一夫妇”。

土团党是一个似乎想要让大马前进的政党,在言论自由、思想主张、新宣言和坚实的“2025年宏愿”上。但土团党最高领袖去严惩那些陷入低谷的人是不正确的。当来自纽约大学的鲁里埃尔鲁比尼(Nouriel Roubini)预见亚洲金融危机时,他并没有被视为骗子。当印度央行行长帕特尔(Urjit Patel)在去年12月被总理莫迪撤职时,他安静地离职。

大马的佐摩教授警告说,大马将面临不利的冲击。财政部长林冠英也同样警告说,对希盟的支持率已有所减少;还有公正党梳邦区国会议员黄基全。

因此,通过说出真相来纠正事情是有其必要性的;尽管这番话必须向政府内部的当权者说。总之,这是为了大马,特别是当我们在今天欢庆独立的时候。

许多人开始就这个国家的方向提出严峻的问题,这一现象显示很多人不太接受希盟试图创造的“新大马”。我已经说出很多人心中想说的话。最后希望大家不会怪我多言。

策略家是提早作出警示的人。如果我们在对抗所有政治科学家之前就把事情做好,我们就会再次做得更好,因为我们的方式在数字和方法上都是严谨的。

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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