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SIIA Media Note: 25 May 2011

Updated On: May 25, 2011
Is it the right time for an Asian IMF Chief?
"The IMF is overdue for a relook at its european-only tradition. This seems outdated in a G20 world when the role of emerging economies and Asia is increasingly recognized as critical," says Simon Tay
"Having said that, the idea of an immediate appointment of an Asian to replace Strauss Kahn is probably unwise and untimely. There is a great urgency and a lot will have to be done about European economies. The last thing the world needs now is an Asian outsider who may be resisted and even resented. It would be best to have an interim chief appointed from within the Bank. This is best for the present urgency to work out the European issues.
In a one to two year time frame, an Asian or other emerging economy candidate should be considered.
Strauss-Kahn has gone from a luxury suite to Riker's prison on a suspected charge. We should make sure the European people as a whole does not feel the same when it is the continent's economies under suspicion. Asia should wait for the right time."

Professor Simon TAY is the Chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. He is a professor at the Law faculty and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore [bio].----
Who's in the running to head the IMF?
"Barely 10 days after Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest in New York, the Europeans have rallied behind Christine Lagarde as their consensus candidate to replace DSK.  The comment from John Lipsky, the American No. 2 at the IMF, that Lagarde is an “excellent choice” signals implicit US backing for her as well. The speed with which Europe has manoeuvred in this matter is impressive," says Ho Seng Chee

"In contrast, emerging and non-European economies appear to have barely begun to mobilize themselves in the IMF succession debate.  Apart from ring-side exhortations for an open, transparent, and merit-based process, the lack of agreed alternative candidates from non-European regions is notable.  Regardless of the outcome, these developments show that, unless other regions can build European-like collaboration structures to facilitate rapid decision making, very little will be achieved in their push to re-balance the framework of global economic governance."

Mr. HO Seng Chee is an SIIA Council Member, and also the Joint Company Secretary of the Manager and Group Chief, Corporate Services of Mapletree Investments. [bio].----
Asia should continue to press for the establishment of Asian Monetary Fund in the midst of IMF leadership tussle
"Following the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the IMF Managing Director, there is an increasing voice to appoint a non-European to head the IMF. It is almost certain that Christine Lagarde, the French Finance Minister would take over the IMF leadership as collectively European countries have 30 percent and the US has 17 percent of the voting power," says Hank Lim

"Although at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh in 2009, it was  agreed to have an open selection process and to increase the quota and voting power of large emerging markets by 3 percent which was increased to 6 percent at the Seoul G-20 Summit last year.

What Asia should do is to press further for the establishment of Asia Monetary Fund. An important milestone was made with the establishment of ASEAN Plus Three Macroeconomic Research Organisation (AMRO) in Singapore  this month as an extension of ASEAN Plus Three Chiang Mai Initiative on monetary cooperation which can lead the way forward toward the establishment of Asian Monetary Fund in the not too distant future."
Dr. Hank LIM is a Senior Research Fellow at the SIIA [bio].


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