Daim: Be a strategist, not tactician during crisis


(Bernama) – In the face of a crisis, decisions made must be strategic, not tactical or short-term that only soothe the symptoms but not the underlining fundamental ills, former finance minister Daim Zainuddin said.

He said although Malaysia was not in a crisis yet, it would serve the nation well to pay attention to investigate what a crisis “looks and sounds” like and come up with the best possible response.

“It will be foolish and near-sighted if our responses are merely knee-jerk reactions or unconvincing.

“We must think out of the box and resist conventional approaches, and instead realise that the situation or times around us may be an opportunity to make changes or decisions that are strategic and bear long-term and long-lasting effects,” he said at the Affin Hwang Capital Conference Series 2015 here today.

He said Malaysia’s unorthodox approach to the Asian financial crisis (AFC) showed great courage and grit amid pressure for conformity and conditionality.

Daim said in a crisis, a leader must correctly diagnose confusing, contested, fast-moving and changing situations before explaining and providing persuasive public accounts of the situation.

A leader must then make strategic policy decisions under conditions of time pressure, uncertainty and collective stress, and forge effective communication and collaboration between existing and ad hoc networks of public, private and international actors, he added.

Daim said there was no short cut in weathering a crisis and there must be patience and perseverance to ride through the storm.

“Be a strategist rather than a tactician. It takes courage and grit to ignore the conventional and go for what is truly transformational,” he said.

The one-day conference organised by Affin Hwang Capital, featuring policymakers and top government officials as speakers, attracted about 350 participants.