Banker Datuk Seri Nazir Razak has called for the formation of a national consultative council (NCC) to draw up a much needed social and economic re-engineering plan to chart a new future for the country.
“To borrow a leaf from history, let us once again bring together the best and brightest of Malaysians to huddle and deliberate our options,” he said referring to the NCC that was formed after the 1969 race riots.
Nazir said this when delivering a luncheon address at a closed door session at Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s megatrends 2015 forum in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
He said the NCC should be inclusive, its deliberations wide ranging and it must be led by someone or a group with the moral authority “to bring the good and the great to the table for the sake of the nation’s new future”.
Nazir, who has been outspoken on a number of issues recently, received a standing ovation at the end of his speech.
He said his critics will consider some of his views as unsuitable and will look for 1,001 motives behind his suggestion for a NCC.
“That is their prerogative, just as it is my prerogative to say we can and must opt for national – that is, political, social and economic – recalibration,” he said.
Politics and the socio-economic structures that have evolved over the years is the elephant in the room and “we have to address the elephant in the room”.
“I won’t try to predict the consequences of continuing with the current trajectory of Malaysian politics. But I will predict that if we don’t undertake reform of our socio-economy soon, we may well lose the international economics game,” Nazir said.
The CIMB Group chairman also urged directors of government-linked companies to do what was right when confronted with wrongdoings no matter the consequences.
He cited his experience in 2004 when he was director of Inventqjaya Sdn Bhd, which was generously funded by the government.
When he and a fellow director Datuk Shahril Shamsuddin sensed that something was wrong, they reported the matter to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
“After spending a couple of hours showing all the evidence, the officer calmly asked us, ‘Did you bring your toothbrush?’.
“He said, based on his experience, people who make accusations are often the real crooks and perhaps he should detain us. So we spent another couple of hours explaining that it wasn’t us. Thankfully we were convincing enough,” Nazir said.
Through Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, they got Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who had backed the company, to agree to close it.
“The authorities never managed to build the legal case against (the wrongdoers). A lot of money was wasted but a lot more would have been wasted had we, directors appointed by the government, not done our fiduciary duty and been willing to tell truth to power.”
Nazir said Inventqjaya was an example of how some people can use their access to the corridors of power to push through ideas and get their way.
“I am sure there are other similar stories, so we need to re-calibrate how the corridors of power work, re-establish processes and reaffirm institutional checks and balances.”
Read the full speech here. – October 6, 2015.