Malaysian Standoff

bad-standoff-680x578Depending on how old you are and perhaps on your gender, regardless of where in the world you grew up, you will probably be aware of the great cinematic artistry of the spaghetti western. My 1970s boyhood in St. Johns Primary involved regular collective viewings of violent and engaging cowboy films. There were no good guys, no bad guys – just guys you identified with – no matter if it was the Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach  or Lee Van Cleef – we collectively learnt that there was small difference  between the good, the bad and the ugly – In Malaysia, today we are having to learn that same lesson all over again, as adults! One classic plot device or trope in this Cowboy genre was the Mexican standoff where parties face each other at gunpoint. There is an inability of any party to advance its position safely. At the same time no party has a safe way to withdraw from its position, thus making the standoff permanent, at least until there is an external event. In the 1MDB/IPIC standoff both sides want the other to pay although both sides will benefit, neither side acknowledges the liability. The external event is the ending of the default grace period – that is today in Malaysian time!

 

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