Banker Datuk Seri Nazir Razak’s proposal for a national consultative council (NCC) to chart a new future for Malaysia has received support from members of civil societies and politicians from both sides of the divide.
The brother of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in a speech at the Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s megatrends 2015 forum yesterday, said social and economic re-engineering was needed so that Malaysia will not “lose the international economics game”.
The CIMB Group chairman’s proposal for NCC harks back to the time when Malaysia grappled with the aftermath of race riots in May 1969 by forming such a council to help steer the country back to normalcy.
NCC had been set up by Najib and Nazir’s father, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who was then deputy prime minister.
Civil society leaders and politicians today gave the thumbs up to Nazir’s proposal, with some expressing optimism that this was what Malaysia needed.
Negaraku patron, activist and lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan:
“I am in complete support of this proposal. I think ‘recalibrate’ is the right word to use and it is certainly a statesman-like response to our present crisis. It’s time we heard a sensible proposal away from the toxicity of politics.
“I would even suggest that if the government lacks the political will to do it, then the people must come together and set up such a mechanism. We need a coming together of people who put the nation first (rather than themselves).
“And we need this fast as the nation is currently being driven to the brink.”
Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah:
“This is a good move and a much needed one.
“Bersih has asserted there is a need for institutional reforms even if the government changes. It’s all about correcting a system that does not allow truth to be spoken nor allow dissenting voices.
“The judgement that states the Sedition Act as constitutional is one such example. The laws fails to recognise that archaic laws needs to be abolished to stop its abuse and it is also one that the PM himself had initially said would be abolish.
“So when we talk of a new narrative for the future of Malaysia, social, economic and political governance must be included.”
Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) executive director Cynthia Gabriel:
“It is a good suggestion because the country is in dire straits. We need some serious measures to tackle the dwindling economy and other problems.
“But there is a concern that there will not be any political will to see it through. And without political will, we will not go anywhere. With all the controversies such as 1MDB, the RM2.6 billion, it will not move further.
“The more we leave these questions on these issues unanswered and the longer we have to wait for investigations to show some results, it will take a toll on the country even more. There is a complete lack of public confidence.”
Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (Page) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim:
“In giving this proposal, Nazir said if you see something wrong, you have to stand up and say it is wrong and not just accept it. And in terms of education, we have been hitting a big wall with Malay resistance.
“Although we think that political will not get in the way of inclusive education, the government still caters to the Malay resistance which is not good if we want to move forward.
“Parents are mentioned in the Education Act and yet we are not given that recognition in our own children’s future.”
Asli Center of Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam:
“I think Datuk Seri Nazir`s proposals are excellent. Malaysia may be now trapped by narrow thinking and the old socio-economic mindsets and models that are becoming counterproductive to our further progress.
“But we have to have open-minded and honest Malaysians who have a Malaysian outlook rather than those with narrow racial and outdated religious thinking.
“We need a new start for a New Malaysia where we all will feel a stronger sense of belonging and where we will base our socio-economic and political policies on the premise of what is good for all Malaysians and no longer on race and religious parochialism.
“Most importantly, we need to have proper monitoring systems to ensure good policies don’t turn bad due to state capture, corruption and abuses.”
DAP strategist and Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong:
“Yes, it is time to discuss the multiple ‘perfect storm’ crisis involving the political leadership vacuum, outmoded economic model that goes nowhere apart from enriching cronies, and failure of the education system to build the next generation.
“Except I don’t think the prime minister would be listening. One just has to read the new economic model documents to find that Najib doesn’t listen, doesn’t understand what’s needed to renew the economy.
“I think an NCC is a good idea for the next PM to adopt, whoever he may be, but Najib? We can forget about it.”
PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar and Lembah Pantai MP:
“I am open to the idea of NCC – it is pivotal in our quest to implement much needed reforms in Malaysia. However, aside from needing a chair who commands moral authority, we need to ensure it remains bipartisan with clear linkage on actual implementation.
“As such, it must garner support from all powers that be. Yes to recalibrating the corridors, reaffirming institutional checks and balances.”
PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang and Batu MP:
“The proposal is good and timely except that it will not move under Najib. For me the precondition to all this is that the prime minister has to step down for it to be effective.
“The PM should not live in delusion hat he can hang on to power. As long as the central office has no credibility and international trust, I don’t think any reforms will work.
“Things will only move forward if Najib steps down, I don’t think there is any way out of this.”
MCA central committee member Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker:
“Totally agree. For too long and too often, we have been corrupted with the ‘jangan lawan taukeh’ (mindset under) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s authoritative ways.
“Then, it was all about the end justifying the means, survival of the fittest and who you know, not what you know. It was about political correctness and not doing what’s right.
“This culture is not only prevalent in politics but also in the corporate sector. We need to build up and support leaders with moral standing to paddle the nation towards the right path forward.
“However, I must caution that any transformation must be smooth and without chaos and upheaval whereby we must not loose sight of the utilitarian view.”
Gerakan youth chief Tan Keng Liang (pic, right):
“There is no harm in having another brainstorming platform like NCC to resolve socio-economic problems but the overdose of politics in Malaysia is still going to continue and nothing will be solved in the end.
“I believe we need to resolve the political climate in our country for it to move forward. You can have NCC but (if) the ideas mooted by NCC are agreed upon by the government but disagreed by the opposition, then (what)? From my observation, anything agreed upon by the government will be opposed by the opposition.
“We lack constructive a opposition in Malaysia. I am not suggesting that our current government is perfect but if the opposition starts to acknowledge that there can be only one captain on the ship, then things will move properly. Creating issues everyday won’t solve anything.” – October 6, 2015.