Mossad (2): Memburu Si Rangkap Sembilan

 

Imad_Mughniyah

Imam Mughniyeh. Sumber: wikipedia.org

SAYA akan menukilkan kisah bagaimana jaringan intelijen Israel bergerak terus, ulet, demi memburu seseorang yang dianggap sebagai musuh negara. Kisah perburuan si musuh Israel ini melibatkan kerja tim, keuletan, dan network. Bagi Anda yang banyak bergerak di dunia reportase, keuletan ini bisa menjadi inspirasi dalam bekerja.

Orang yang diuber Mossad ini namanya Imam Mughniyeh. Lembaga intelijen Amerika CIA dan Biro Investigasi Federal FBI menudingnya sebagai dalang pemboman Kedutaan Amerika di Beirut pada 18 April 1983, yang menewaskan 63 orang. Aksi lain yang dilakukan Imam Mughniyeh, antara lain:

beirutattacktimecover

Cover story TIME mengenai pemboman markas marinir Amerika di Beirut.

 

  • 23 Oktober 1983 — membom markas Marinis Amerika Serikat, Beirut, menewaskan 241 orang.
  • 23 Oktober 1983 — membom markas tentara khusus Perancis, di Beirut, menewaskan 58 orang.
  • Menculik dan membunuh agen CIA William Buckler; penyerangan Kedutaan Amerika di Kuwait, membajak TWA Airlines, membajak dua pesawat Kuwait.

Lembaga intelijen Israel punya daftar lebih lengkap. Selain beberapa aksi di atas, Imam Mughniyeh bertanggungjawab atas sejumlah aksi ini:

  • 4 November 1983, membom Markas Tentara Israel, di Tyre, Lebanon, 60 orang tewas.
  • 10 Maret 1985, menyerbu iring-iringan tentara Israel di Metullah, perbatasan Lebanon-Israel, 8 tewas.
  • 17 Maret 1992, membom kedutaan Israel di Argentina, 29 tewas.
  • 18 Maret 1994, membom pusat kegiatan Yahudi di Buenos Aires, Argentina, 86 tewas.

Namun untuk menguber Imam Mughniyeh bukan perkara gampang. Ia tidak mau diwawancara. Tidak mau difoto atau wajahnya divideo. Data yang ada, dia lahir pada 1962 di Lebanon Selatan, penganut Syiah, kawasan tempat tinggalnya dikenal sebagai pendukung berat PLO. Wajahnya bagaimana, sosoknya seperti apa, tak diketahui.

Ia diibaratkan hantu.

                                             ****

Imam Mughniyeh drop out dari SMA. Setelah itu, ia bergabung dengan Al Fatah, faksi bersenjata di PLO –orang Israel menyebutnya sebagai ”faksi teroris di PLO”. Ia menjadi pengawal khusus Abu Ayad, wakil Ketua PLO Yaser Arafat. Di Fatah, ia menjadi anggota Brigade 17, pasukan khusus yang dikenal pemberani.

Para agen Israel betul-betul kesulitan menghadapi Imam Mughniyeh. Mereka menghadapinya dengan penuh kewaspadaan. Nama Imam pun kondang sebagai anggota pasukan Al Fatah yang kreatif, berwibawa, tapi misterius.

 

Dalam sebuah operasi penyerangan, Imam belum tentu nongol. Atau, kalaupun nongol, ia hadir belakangan. Keberaniannya juga tak diragukan. Ketika membom markas marinir Amerika di Beirut yang menewaskan ratusan orang itu, usianya baru 21.

Adalah idenya, yang menempatkan seorang ”pengantin” mengendarai truk penuh bermuatan bom peledak, digiring menabrak markas marinir.

Markas itu runtuh, menimpa ratusan tentara di bawahnya.

Data pribadi yang diketahui hanyalah ia menikah dengan sepupunya, punya satu anak laki-laki dan satu anak perempuan. Tingginya 170 cm, berat 60 kilogram. Ada sebuah foto yang didapat intelijen Israel, tapi itu foto lama. Padahal Imam Mughniyeh rajin operasi plastik, untuk penyamaran.

Imam Mughniyeh dengan cepat menjadi pahlawan bagi Palestina. Dan ia sadar, bahwa dirinya diburu terus-menerus oleh intel Israel dan Amerika.

Untuk mengatasi hal ini, maka Imam bersikap paranoid. Ia kerap mengganti ajudannya. Terhadap orang kepercayaannya pun ia ekstra waspada. Tiap malam, ia tidur di tempat yang berbeda. Agen intelijen Israel menyebutnya sebagai ”teroris dengan nyawa rangkap sembilan”.

David Barkai, agen Mossad yang pernah bertugas di Unit 504, mengatakan bahwa Imam Mughniyeh memiliki profil sulit ditebak. Ia susah dicari. Semakin gencar perburuan oleh Mossad, semakin samar sosok yang diuber itu. ”Ia tak punya masalah perempuan, alkohol, uang, atau narkoba,” kata David.

****

Pada 1988 sebetulnya Imam Mughniyeh hampir tertangkap agen Perancis.  Pemerintah Amerika memasok informasi kepada badan intelijen Perancis, bahwa si buron tengah naik pesawat yang akan berhenti sementara di Paris.

CIA juga melengkapi informasinya dengan foto serta paspor palsu yang digunakan. Pemerintah Perancis membatalkan rencana penangkapan itu. Mereka khawatir, tindakan terhadap Imam Mughniyeh akan membahayakan nasib warganya di Timur Tengah, dan warga Perancis yang tengah disandera. Imam Mughniyeh pun melenggang.

Tahun itu, aksinya menjadi-jadi. Pemboman terhadap kedutaan besar Israel di  Buenos Aires dilakukan. Bum. Puluhan korban jatuh. Tak hanya itu. Penyerangan terhadap warga Yahudi dan orang Israel di Argentina beberapa kali terjadi.

Dua tahun kemudian, markas kegiatan Yahudi di Buenos Aires dibom. Sebanyak 86 orang meninggal.

Cara kerja pemboman itu sama: sebuah truk dimuati penuh bahan peledak, disopiri oleh pembom yang siap bunuh diri.

Tim intelijen dari Amerika dan Israel yang bergegas ke Buenos Aires kemudian menggelar penyelidikan. Mereka menyimpulkan, beberapa kejadian teror terhadap Yahudi dan Israel di Buenos Aires dilakukan orang yang sama: Imam Mughniyeh.

Israel yang marah pada 1992 itu melakukan aksi balas dendam. Dengan serangan helikopter, pemimpin Hezbollah, Sheikh Abbas Al-Musawi, ditembak. Ia tewas.

Setelah wafatnya Sheikh Abbas, Imam Mughniyeh terpantau berada di Teheran. Ia bertemu dengan Komandan Garda Revolusi, Mohsen Rezaee, dan Menteri Intelijen, Ali Fallahain. Mereka membentuk tim operasi untuk melakukan aksi lagi di Buenos Aires. Tim ini gabungan dari pasukan berani mati Hezbollah dan intelijen Iran.

Berbagai aksi yang dilakukan Imam Mughniyeh membuatnya menjadi musuh Israel nomor satu.

****

Pada 1994, Imam Mughniyeh lolos dari sebuah upaya pembunuhan. Ia terlihat di Beirut, ketika sebuah bom mobil yang diletakkan di dekat mesjid meledak. Bom itu menghancurkan toko milik Fuad Mughniyeh, saudara Imam.

Sesuai rencana, Imam harusnya datang berkunjung ke rumah Fuad. Namun di saat-saat terakhir ia membatalkan kunjungannya. Ia pun selamat. Dan predikat Imam Mughniyeh sebagai ”teroris dengan nyawa rangkap sembilan” makin tersemat.

Beberapa pekan setelah ledakan bom itu, petugas keamanan Lebanon, bersama Hezbollah menangkapi beberapa orang sipil yang dituding sebagai pelaku aksi pemboman itu. Tertuduh utama adalah Ahmed Halek.

Kata polisi, ”Halek dan istrinya memarkir mobilnya di dekat toko milik Fuad Mughniyeh. Ahmed Halek lalu masuk ke mobil, memastikan bahwa Fuad ada di dalam toko, lalu keluar dan menarik pemicu bom.”

Yang ia tak duga, meski ada Fuad di situ, Imam Mughniyeh ternyata batal datang.

Menurut koran Lebanon, As-Safir, Ahmed Halek bertemu pejabat senior Mossad di Cyprus. Ia mendapat ilmu tata cara membuat bom mobil, dan menduitinya US$ 100.000.

Ahmed Halek dieksekusi tak lama setelah penangkapannya.

 

Pada 2002, Mossad mendapat kabar bahwa Imam Mughniyeh ikut mengapalkan 50 ton senjata untuk milisi bersenjata Palestina. Juga tersiar rumor bahwa ia telah menjadi komandan Hezbollah. Imam juga terlibat dalam aksi Brigade Al Quds, yang dikendalikan Iran.

Laporan lain menyebutkan: Imam Mughniyeh sekali lagi mengoperasi plastik wajahnya.

Informasi yang masuk Mossad cukup akurat karena lembaga intelijen Israel itu merekrut beberapa orang terpilih yang anti-Hezbollah. Mereka tinggal di desa tempat keluarga Imam Mughniyeh. Bahkan kabarnya ada salah satu sepupu Imam yang menjadi agen Mossad.

Dari si sepupu inilah Mossad mendapat kabar bahwa Imam Mughniyeh mengoperasi wajahnya di Eropa, dan kembali ke Lebanon dengan wajah yang sama sekali berbeda.

Kini Mossad punya tantangan baru: menelusuri klinik operasi plastik, untuk mendapatkan identitas Imam Mughniyeh termutakhir.

Mereka mendapatkan kejutan itu dari Berlin….

 

(Bersambung ke bagian 3).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


MOSSAD, Badan Intelijen Israel (1)

 

Mossad-cover

SUDAH lebih dari enam bulan buku mengenai badan intelijen Israel, Mossad, tersimpan di rak buku saya. Baru di libur panjang Imlek ini, 31 Januari – 1 Februari 2014, buku mengenai badan telik sandi yang legendaris itu sempat saya baca. Alhamdulillah, sampai selesai.

Judul bukunya cukup menarik: The Greatest Missions of The Israeli Secret Service. MOSSAD. Michael Bar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal. Buku ini tebalnya 302 + xi, diterbitkan oleh Harper Collins Publishers, New York.

Buku ini, menurut saya, layak Anda baca. Setelah membaca buku ini kita akan tahu, kalau Israel sekarang ini menjadi negara yang kuat, itu antara lain berkat dukungan lembaga intelijennya yang terus-menerus bekerja penuh pengabdian demi menjaga negara.

Membaca buku MOSSAD seolah menonton bioskop. Berbagai operasi para intelijennya dipaparkan dengan rinci, baik yang gagal maupun yang berhasil. Medan pertempuran para agen sebagian besar di negara-negara Timur Tengah, seperti Yordania,  Suriah, Iran, dan Irak.

Di Amazon.com, buku Mossad yang gres bisa didapat dengan harga US$ 23,96. Edisi yang bekas harganya cuma US$ 12,99. Bila Anda ingin membaca gratisnya juga bisa, tapi tidak utuh. Silakan klik http://www.amazon.com/Mossad-Greatest-Missions-Israeli-Service/dp/0062123408. Di situ Anda bisa membaca sebagian naskah MOSSAD. Cuma, yang terakhir ini tidak mengizinkan kita menyimpan gambarnya.

Presiden Israel sejak 2007, Shimon Peres, menilai buku ini layak dibaca. ”Buku ini memberi tahu bahwa kekuatan tersembunyi Israel adalah seperkasa kekuatan fisiknya yang mengagumkan,” katanya di halaman belakang sampul buku. Yang dimaksud kekuatan tersembunyi, alias tidak kasat mata adalah lembaga telik sandi negara, MOSSAD.

Selama beberapa puluh tahun, Mossad diakui secara luas sebagai lembaga intelijen terbaik di jagad. Sebagai negara  Yahudi yang terkurung di antara negara-negara Islam di Timur Tengah, Israel memang terus-menerus memasang rambu waspada. Negara yang dipelototi dengan ekstra keras adalah Iran plus Suriah.

Kedua negara itu, menurut buku MOSSAD ini, menggandeng Korea Utara untuk mengembangkan teknologi nuklirnya. Inilah yang mengundang kekhawatiran Israel. Maka Israel pun mengirim telik sandinya untuk menyelidiki apakah Suriah dan Iran betul-betul mengembangkan teknologi nuklir.

Dengan operasi penyusupan, akhirnya MOSSAD bisa membuktikan bahwa Suriah betul-betul mengembangkan teknologi nuklir. Operasi penghancuran terhadap reaktor nuklir Swedia itu pun dimulai. Reaktor nuklirnya dibom.

Michael bar zohar

Michael Bar-Zohar

Buku MOSSAD ditulis oleh Michael Bar-Zohar dan Nissim Mishal. Nissim Mishal adalah wartawan televisi terkemuka di Israel Adapun Michael Bar-Zohar punya profesi lengkap. Ia wartawan, novelis, politikus. Bar-Zohar,  lahir di Bulgaria 72 tahun lalu.

Namun, buku bagus ini tak lepas dari kekurangan. Setelah buku ini terbit, muncul tuduhan : buku ini karya plagiat. Kisah agen Mossad, termasuk nama-nama samaran, kok ndilalah sama dengan tulisan karya wartawan Israel, Ronan Bergman. Sebagai hukumannya, Bar-Zohar dan Nissim Mishal harus membayar sejumlah ganti rugi.

 


PIDATO BU MARI ELKA PANGESTU DI ANU

Speech Given at the

Ceremony to Confer Awards of the College of Business and Economics

Australian National University

 

December 17, 2013

 

Honourable Chancellor  Professor Gareth Evans

 

Vice Chancellor Professor Young

 

Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Margaret Harding

 

Dean of College of Business and Economics, Jane Godfrey

 

Graduates of the College of Business and Economics 2013 and their proud parents

 

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

Mari Elka Pangestu, Hillary Clinton dan Sri Mulyani

 

I am extremely proud of the honor bestowed upon me today with the degree of Doctor of Letters, Honoris Causa.   I am also greatly honored to be addressing the 2013 Conferring of Awards of the College of Business and Economics, of this esteemed institution – the Australian National University.

Some 33 years ago I stood on a similar stage getting my Masters of Economics degree from the Chancellor of ANU at the time, Sir John Crawford.  The feelings of pride and sense of achievement to have completed the five-year journey from Bachelor to Masters at the ANU are still fresh in mymemory.

I sense the same sense of achievement in this room.  Congratulations, you have all made it!  As Einstein said, “genius is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration”.   All of you who are graduating today have done so through sheer hard work, motivation and determination to see it to the end.

It’s hard to believe.  The long nights to study for exams, finishing papers and projects are now over.  The long frustrating months of writing thesis proposals, the anxious days when you have writers block or you can’t get to see your supervisor, and dreaded days when you don’t want to hear the question “how’s your thesis going?” are over.   These memories will fade and you will look back at them with humor.  You will remember the good times, the good friends and the Professors who have taught and inspired you.

I also recall vividly that my proud moment was also a proud moment for my parents.  They always stressed upon us the value of education and how fortunate we were to have this opportunity.  Therefore we were always told to study hard, do our best and to take every opportunity to get the best possible education. My parents came from the war time generation of being impoverished and not being able to afford a good education until a much later stage in their lives.  My father (J. Panglaykim) had to struggle with being poor and not educated, working and doing business as he was putting himself through school.  He succeeded, ended up being an economist and in fact also spent time as a research fellow at the Research School of Pacific Studies, ANU.   Thus that day was also a proud moment for my parents, especially my father who I think secretly hoped and wished that one of his children wouldstudy his field of economics.

My father also always told me that education was the best thing he could pass down to his children because you can lose money and wealth, but you cannot lose knowledge.   To all the parents out there – you have also a sense of achievement that you have guided your children to the next phase in their lives and they are about to embark on the next phase.

I also wanted to deliver a special message to all the young women graduates out there.  You can see that the Dean of CBE, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, many of the graduates, the student speaker and the graduation speaker have one thing in common – yes they are women.  They have all reached there through merit, hard work and because they could.  Times have changed since my time and times have changed for someone like Lina Tan the student speaker today.

In our time we still had to be given the equal access.  I was fortunate enough that I was given that opportunity.  My father despite being a traditional Asian parent gave equal opportunity for education to his sons and daughter.  My mother despite her concerns that if I was too smart I would not get married, continued to support me.  And here I am.  I was the first Indonesian woman to get a Ph.D in economics and the first woman of Chinese descent to be in the cabinet.  For the last opportunity I have President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to thank.

I did not set out to be the “first” in anything.  However, I did set out to do my best, to excel and to work hard.  Much of these values were instilled from young and reinforced in this esteemed educational institution, the ANU.  I believe success of women in leadership positions is about ensuring equal opportunity, but based on merit and capability.  Ultimately we should also serve as a positive role model for other young women to show what is possible.

Ladies and Gentlemen, and CBE 2013 graduates

What can I share with you about the economics degree at this institution? And how it has contributed to where I am today.    I can attest that the degree from this institution and the networks build from being in this institution have lifelong benefits for myself and other graduates.  As living proof of this is the fact that three of the current Indonesian cabinet are ANU graduates.

The value of the education in economics and the professors you have from the College of Business and Economics are one of the best if not the best.  Despite doing my Ph.D in the US, I look back and feel that I received my strongest grounding in economics from ANU.

I started out with Economic and Accounting at the time it was the School of General Studies.  I can still remember clearly the advice of my first year tutor in micro-economics Ross McLeod who encouraged me to take the economics major and honors courses, and the economics tutor at Burgman College where I stayed in my first year, Howard Dick, who helped us a lot as we were adjusting to university life.

I am sure that I got the best basics in economics from some of the best teachers which put be in good shape for thesubsequent steps that I took.  The introductory courses in my time were taught by Professor Cameron, who also wrote the textbook.  The best of neo classical economic theory we got from Ted Sieper, Professor Pitchford (Senior) and Professor Richard Cornes (who I note is still in the School, as Emeritus Professor).  We also had rigorous courses in statistics and econometrics.  I did not appreciate the strong basics until I continued my Ph.D in the US and found that I was in really good shape for the Ph.D courses.

I started out with accounting and career plans to be a CPA or working in the financial sector, partly based of the rational expectations of an economic animal.  That is, salaries in the financial sector were higher!   I changed my mind into my third year, after I did an internship at Coopers Lybrand in Sydney and tookcourses in development economics from Clive Edwards and international economics from Peter Drysdale.

ANU is also a university with a lot of schools focusing on different research areas and regions, and with different visiting professors.  I was fortunate enough to have had interactions with the international trade guru Max Corden and Heinz Arndt, Ross Garnaut, Peter McCawley, Hal Hill, Chris Manning and others at the Indonesia Project and Research School of Pacific Studies.  Their research interest and outlook towards Indonesia, Asia and Asia Pacific arose out of the visionary leadership of the likes of  Professor John Crawfod and Professor Heinz Arndt.  My early interactions with these set of  professors also steered my interest in international trade and development.  Peter McCawley supervised my honors thesis on “Unemployment in Indonesia” and  I worked under Peter Drysdale on my Masters Thesis which was on “Foreign Direct Investment in ASEAN”.

I was hooked.  So the message is we are not always driven by higher returns, the intangible returns of doing what you believe in or passionate about are also equally if not more important – be daring and willing to try, and find out what you are passionate about.

I also wanted to share with you that, despite doing my Ph.D in the US,  my closest relations remain with ANU till today, especially with former professors who initially guided us then, and have now become close friends and colleagues.

I can still recall the advice from Professor Heinz Arndt the founder of the Indonesia Project who advised me to continue my Ph.D in the US rather than stay on in ANU as he said it would enrich my education experience.  He was right.

During and after my Ph.D I continued to be in contact with ANU, attending conferences, participating in research projects and region based networks, co-authoring papers and editing books.   What I have found is that the professors remain to look out for you, continuing to be there for advice, sending references for papers or even work opportunities and as colleagues and friends at the end of the day. 

In fact I was in ANU attending a seminar on China and the region organized by Ross Garnaut when I got “the” phone call to become Minister of Trade in the Indonesian cabinet in 2004.  I asked him and Peter Drysdale at the time – what is your advice and what is going to be my main challenge?  I can recall what they said.  Professionally you are well qualified, but your main challenge will be public education and getting political support on globalization and reforms.  They were right.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished guests and CBE 2013 Graduates

This brings me to the second thing I wanted to share with you. How does what we learn about neo classical economics theory and first best solutions translate into the real world?  How do we implement policy changes and reforms, how do we deal with the political challenges?

We develop different skills and learn at different points in our career development.  If I could advise you, I would say that the next phase in your life should be about consolidating and applying your knowledge and technical competence.

In the academic path this would mean consolidating your academic research, making a name for yourself and attending conferences and seminars.  In the professional world it would mean focusing as much as possible in developing your competence in the various areas.   Another thing that I have found is that education and learning are different processes, one never stops learning and it is a lifelong process.  In the academic world teaching and continuing to do research is part of the way we keep up, and in the professional world its about continuing to upgrade one self.

That is why, I am glad that in the first phase of my career before entering into public policy service, I had a strong grounding in economics, research and empirical work, and policy work as well as public policy advocacy and debate.  All this during a very important period of transformation of Indonesia.

In the late 1980s to mid 1990s when I first came back to Indonesia it was at the beginning of Indonesia’s process of opening up and deregulations as the riches from the oil boom petered out.  This is a similar experience of resource boom and bust of Australia.  In the lead up to the financial crisis and dramatic process to democracy of Indonesia in 1998, I also became involved with the pro reform movement.    All throughout this period my economics training and network, including with ANU, gave me a solid basis.

During this period, I spent most of my academic career doing research on deregulation, analyzing first best policy options and the importance of removing distortions, undertaking empirical work to show the benefits as well as the costs, and looked into the political economy aspects.  We used this research to advocate for good policy and as a basis for public discourse.  Recall that this took place during pre democracy days, so that speaking out is not what it is like today.  We were considered brave then, to speak out for good policy – but it was always based on sound research that I believe put us in good shape to advocate for change, reforms and greater transparency.

I was also fortunate enough to do a lot of work and attended many academic and second track meetings (academics, stakeholders and government) in laying the foundations for Indonesia’s role in ASEAN, APEC and regional and global fora.  This gave me invaluable experience and knowledge later on when I resumed the Ministry of Trade position.

Many of these meetings had involvement from Australia and ANU contacts and networks.  One of the forefathers of APEC is of course our Chancellor, Professor Gareth Evans who laid out the “three layer wedding cake of APEC analogy and that the strength of APEC lay in the three pillars of liberalization, facilitation and economic and technical cooperation” which lives on till today as the framework for regional cooperation in general.

Of course once you are in office – it’s not as easy as it sounds.  I was fortunate to have thought a lot about policy reforms and then be put in a position to implement them!  And of course learning quickly to be realistic, that is we are lucky if we are able to implement a portion of what is ideal.

With hindsight there are many important lessons learned and today I would like to just share two of the most important ones as they relate to the transition with what we learned in school and what we have to implement on the ground.

First that it is important to institutionalize reforms.  A few of us who came from the pro reform movement, were successful in introducing a series of economic reforms in investment, tax, customs and trade in first few years of the first Cabinet.  We were focused on institutionalizing reforms through changing laws, introducing new laws, setting up of institutions and bureaucratic reforms.

It turns out that changing laws and regulations was the easy part. The hardest part was implementation since it required bureaucratic reforms and mind set change within Ministries, and because of decentralization, capacity and mind set change in regional governments. 

This takes time and one can only do in stages, and it was not possible to do it immediately for the whole ministry or nation at the same time.  That is why the approach was to set up islands of excellence within a Ministry, find quick wins to get buy in and provide a demonstration effect,undertake bureaucratic reforms in the institutions which served the public first and provide them with sufficient renumeration, and a system of reward and punishment for performance of regional governments.   We were not always successful and one can only be satisfied with partial successes and hope that sufficient critical mass to support continued change is there and will live on beyond our tenures.

Second the concerns of globalization whether real or in political rhetoric remain till today.   The advice from my two professors in 2004, ring true.  We worked on public education but the job of convincing the wider public, policy makers and politicians was not an easy one.

We found that it was not enough to talk about the benefits of opening up for trade and investment, and how it benefits the country and the world as our neoclassical theory tells us.  After all theory has also told us that there are losers and gainers, and we are supposed to compensate losers – and all would be happy.  If only it was that easy.  Post financial crisis it was much too easy to blame opening up as the cause of many economic woes and downturns. So in order to get support for changes and WTOinternational negotiations, regional cooperation or national level policies, one needs to be able to articulate what the concrete benefits are and to whom, and to understand how to deal with the real costs.  Economic analysis on this count helped a lot, but needed to be undertaken with real and concrete examples and articulated in a way which the wider society could see the benefit or impact on them.

Good economic policy thinking to articulate that the objective is not opening up for the sake of opening up, but as a means for economic development also turned out to be important.  That is, complementary policies to ensure competitiveness such as infrastructure and human resource development, institutional and financial sector readiness and compensation mechanisms for sectors, regions or groups of people, which will lose out are set up.

We did all that but yet the ideal setting is never all there or perfectly sequenced, or able to be explained and accepted by the political setting we are in.  So on the ground – one does end up with second and sometimes third best policy options and outcomes.  However, I have not lost my idealism for the need for good policy analysis and I have found that my inherent economic training and knowledge to present and articulate the case is still important.

We sometimes won the arguments based on sound analysis, facts and empirics, sometimes belatedly.  But we did not always win, despite having the good analysis.  Then you retreat and just minimize damage – to return to the discussion for another day, the right timing and circumstances.

In terms of negotiations – I have found the three pillars of APEC as useful guidance.  Liberalization and facilitation are not enough when we are negotiating – we must ensure capacity building is part of the package.  Without capacity building and the necessary confidence and support to continue the liberalization andfacilitation pillars will not be forthcoming.  Therefore we need to built in, time needed and in that time capacity building.  We have done that with our FTA, EPA and WTO negotiations.

Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests and CBE 2013 Graduates

You will be glad to know I have come to the end of my remarks.

Inherently my training as an economist at ANU has helped me transition into many phases in my career – from an academic researcher, to a policy researcher, to sitting on company boards, to making sensible comments on economic policy and finally to the policy makers hot seat and having to deal with various challenges.

So you could become a banker, financial analyst, economic consultant, economist at a corporation or within government doing economic analysis from macro to micro, a policy maker at regional, national to international level, and god forbid, be a politician.  Remember to adapt, adjust, do your best and continue your learning process – but never lose sight of the end goal and core values.

I would like to close with the following remarks.  Despite being lucky enough to have had the good basis of economics education, network and support from this estemmed institution as I have shared with you, success also comes because of the support we receive from those closest to us.  So I would like to thank my family, my husband and two sons, for coming on this long journey.  I would also like to thank my supporting staff, some of whom are in the room today.  So Graduates please don’t forget to thank those closest to you and give them a big hug.

Finally to all graduates, we have thanked our parents, our family, our professors, our school ANU, don’t forget to pat yourselves on the back, you deserve it.

Now go out and venture with confidence and optimism.  Good luck, and never lose that passion and excitement of today, the fire in yourbelly because it will carry you through thick and thin.

I thank you.