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Sakmongkol ak 47

Thursday 26 February 2009

Sakmongkol AK47 speaks with Tun Daim

Meeting Tun Daim Zainuddin.

I am now writing on a slightly different matter. It is about my meeting with Tun Daim Zainuddin. I have read several books on him. They are written in Bahasa Melayu and English. There, you have an impression of the man.

My own impression of the man has not been out of this world. When he was serving as our finance minister he appeared to be absorbed in his work most of the time. It is said, that if you ask him a question, he will give a very short answer. He is very sparse in his words. Once or twice I saw him in person during the UMNO General Assembly, Tun Daim who is small in physical stature, seemed to be walking with stooped shoulders. It seems the problems of Malaysia are placed on his shoulders. He has no time for small talk and idle conversation.

I have never met him in person for any substantial amount of time. When he was the finance minister he wasn't accessible easily. I hear whenever one gets to see him, one gets to talk while he will continue doing whatever he was doing.

So when his minder, the very able Mei Chuan called me to say, that Tun Daim is able to accommodate me, I was excited. This venerable assistant to TDZ even e mailed me to supply a map of TDZ's office. Its located at Wisma YPR.

Now, where is Wisma YPR and what does YPR stand for? Later I just remembered that YPR stands for Yayasan Pok Rafeah, TDZ's mother I think. I think this gesture tells a lot of this smallish man. The place when I later discovered was once a hotel I think.

My appointment was at 4pm on the 23rd of February. My wife (Mamasita) and I drove from Kuantan on the 23rd at 11 am and made it some 20 minutes before 4pm. I have heard that TDZ is fastidious about punctuality as he is about money. So I wouldn't want to begin with a wrong step on this one.

We were ushered to his 9th floor office at Wisma YPR. It is a very tastefully appointed office but not opulent. We waited at the reception area which to me looks like an art gallery. It has several paintings on the wall and other objects d' art strategically placed. One notices quickly TDZ's tastes in abstract paintings mostly of women figures in several strange poses. As I am not an art connoisseur, I am afraid I am not able to appraise the meaning of such paintings.

'TDZ shall be here shortly, said Mei Chuan. He is on the way from a meeting'. I breathed a sigh of relief. Better I wait than TDZ does.

A few minutes later, Mei Chuan told me that TDZ is ready to see me. You have 45 minutes with Tun. That's great I said silently. I would be lucky if given 15 minutes.

I was ushered into a large room that serves at TDZ's personal office. It is simple. TDZ sits behind a large desk with a computer on one side. As he was sitting, you are not aware of his smallish-ness. But one thing you quickly grasped- TDZ has a presence. He was dressed very simply. He has a British India chequered shirt on, green in colour. Normally one would see him wear a batik shirt.

My actual impression this time is that Tun Daim looked very relaxed. Apart from his usual silver crown of hair with a dash of black here and there, Tun Daim looked very presentable and regal. On his desk, I saw a pile of blog articles printed no doubt by his assistant, Mei Chuan. He must have been reading them.

Then he said his first words. Yes, what I can I do for you? I said, Tun, let me say it is a singular honour for me to be able to see you. Secondly, I am coming here, under no great pressure, for I am not here to ask from you anything. I am here to just exchange some ideas on current issues. He let out a laugh at the second part of my statement. Tak de apa nak beri pun…haha

After a few pleasantries, we started talking. There was never a doubt to my mind that we shall be talking with candour. I would later discover, this larger than life figure possesses a rapier sharp mind. But most of all I would be disarmed by his willingness to speak easy. It was obvious he was not restrained nor constrained.

I first asked Tun- Tun, I have been meaning to ask this jackpot of a question as to how, before March 2008, you cautioned the government about the trouble in 5 states. And after the elections, you were proven right. And if I remember, many political leaders were very dismissive of you. Yes, TDZ said, that Khir Toyo even said, what does Tun Daim know, he has been out of politics.

Tun Daim said he felt the pulse of the nation then. A lot of grievances were detected on the ground. Business people were coming to tell him lamenting of grouses. There were many issues not favourable to the government.

Indeed Tun Daim said he went to see and talked to Pak Lah. He asked why Pak Lah wants to call General elections when he still has time in his favour. The economy was not doing well; there were so many issues not settled- the Hindraf thing, and so on. Pak Lah said he was confident of securing a 2/3rd majority.

The 2004 landslide victory was actually a curse to UMNO and BN. It made them complacent and arrogant at the same time. That is a lethal combination.

I shall continue another time. My 'interview' with TDZ covered my things which will be interesting I hope. We talked about politics, about the management of the economy, even about the Perak political crisis. Do you know that TDZ at one point in time was considering to appoint Zambry Kadir as his political secretary?

That would have to be later, please.


Anonymous,  26 February 2009 at 15:19  

can wait to read the next part

de minimis 26 February 2009 at 15:21  

I, too, can't wait for the next instalment. This is a bit like how Charles Dickens used to sell his great novels; chapter by chapter.

Anonymous,  26 February 2009 at 16:07  


You should have asked him - While being the Finance Minister of Malaysia, what was his relationship and involvements with Halim Saad of then Renong Bhd, Tajuddin Ramli then MAS, and Land and General Bhd chairman Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah ?

Normally we celebrate heroes, but seems to me that the benchmark for heroics has been severly lowered when it comes to UMNO personalities . How can you celebrate someone who has abused his power and took the rakyat's hard earned money for his personal benefits? How can someone with a Minister's salary become the owner of International Bank of Commerce?

Aku tak halal kan duit aku yg dirompaknya. Duit tu elok buat hospital, sekolah, infrastuktur dll. He is filthy rich. Seen his house in google earth? guess what? he built it while he was FM.
Apa lagi nak puji dia ni? I know its up to Allah when he dies, but I do wish that Allah will never forgive him for all that he has done.

Hidup lah senang2 di dunia ni TDZ, because who knows what awaits you in the next after all that you have done. We put you in power and you BETRAYED US. You STOLE from us. KAMU salah gunakan amanah yg diberi.

mekyam 26 February 2009 at 16:16  

i, three, ct! ;D

this is definitely major, tok sak.

Raison D'etre 26 February 2009 at 17:16  

Sheesh... You do know how to leave a man salivating for more.


Sorry.. but I was looking forward to good long read of your meeting TDZ.

This posting is like a foreplay that goes nowhere. :)

Kinda frustrating but ..

Looking forward for more.

Anonymous,  26 February 2009 at 18:32  

Salam Tok Sak... will wait... Btw, its a good break from the kj thing!

Anonymous,  26 February 2009 at 19:35  

yes I cant wait to hear more..please give us feel good story....

and to DTPDCKK at 16:07,

are you sure of your place in heaven? If you are, please book me a low cost flat there. Allah tu maha kaya, so we should be kaya too. If you cant find your heaven while you're still alive, what make you so sure you can find heaven after you are dead.

mamasita 26 February 2009 at 20:21  

Dhahran Sea.
Dato' sak will not disappoint you I'm sure. However, after lulling you all, he will definitely lead you there..the KJ thing! He talks in his sleep..thats how I know..hahaha

Anonymous,  26 February 2009 at 20:39  

Dato' Sak, Salam

Thank goodness you're off the KJ tangent this time. We await the next instalment.

To people like me, TDZ was quite distant because he said little. His attempts at making jokes also fell flat. We don't actually know what kind of role he played in guiding the economic fortunes of the country. Twice he was on the scene when we faced economic difficulties.

There will be people who may not have a liking for him, for one reason or another, but there is no denying he played a pivotal role as Minister of Finance.

Sorry for being a little long-winded. I await the next instalment in excitement and with high expectations.


Ariff Sabri 26 February 2009 at 20:46  

he did guideus through 2 economic crises, we did talk about that. he also talked about a constitutional crisis involving tawi seli and kalong ningkan. he was a practicing lawyer then. my conversation with him wasn't scripted- all i wanted to ensure was he doesn't stay quiet. fortunately, he did not fail me- he was very lucid and talkative- contrary to the moniker daim yang diam.
hehe- but have to wait for parts 2 and maybe 3.

nightcaller 26 February 2009 at 20:47  

A refreshing posting, away from KJ thing. Sure do hope u don't ask TDZ about KJ...

Kalau ada TDZ turunkan petua, share2 lah ngan kami semua...

Tommy Yewfigure 26 February 2009 at 20:49  

Dato Sak,

U lucky man, got mamasita to watch over u, macam bodyguard lah. All commenters beware!!!

Take care,


P/S - Dato don't call out the wrong name in your sleep.Hahaha..Good night.

Ariff Sabri 26 February 2009 at 20:54  


i did tanya pasal kj. tapi cerita lain pun banyak- kalong ningkan, tawi seli, dato najib, tdm, zambri kadir, azim zabidi, even kadir jasin was mentioned. cakap pasal umno, leadesrhip.
it was just a lucky break for me. dia pun ada baca sakmongkol.

Quantum Metal Consultant 26 February 2009 at 23:44  

Rasanya elok kita dengar sampai habis isi pertemuan dengan TDZ kerana ia banyak berbangkit soal masa lampau, elok kita lihat apa yang tersirat. Dan TDZ secara tidak langsung tidak mempunyai apa apa kepentingan dengan politik semasa dan wajar penilaiannya di ambilkira sebagai 'pemerhati' yang kurang berpihak kepada mana mana pihak.

Jangan ada yang emosi dan maki hamun di sini - rasanya lebih menganggu dari menyumbang.

Anonymous,  27 February 2009 at 01:13  

Salam Datin Mamasita,
Thanks for noting my comments on Dato's blog! I know, its almost impossible to change his mind about kj now! Wow! He talks in his sleep?... nasib baik nama "kj" yang keluar not... you know lah? Hahaha! Thanks and take care you two! Btw couple of months back ada Dato' alamak I forgot his name from Pahang, used to be Rector of the Pahang Govt. college... came over here in Dhahran... bila Dato' & Datin nak come to this part of the world? Now that Dato' dah jumpa TDZ... maybe ada project dengan pak arab kat sini?

Anonymous,  28 February 2009 at 16:35  

Good scoop Dato'!

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