KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 – The proposal by Ikhlas Capital Chairman Nazir Razak and 57 other prominent Malaysians, including former Deputy Prime Minister Musa Hitam, former Johore Mentri Besar Ghani Othman, Ambiga Sreeenevasan, Andrew Sheng and Sheriff Kassim, for a national re-set of national policies and institutions cannot have come at a more appropriate time, says DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang.
Their proposal for a Better Malaysia must be given serious consideration by all Malaysians, the Member of Parliament for Iskandar Puteri said during a dialogue held in Iskandar Puteri Friday.
On Thursday, Nazir and several prominent Malaysians including former Deputy Prime Minister Musa Hitam, former Johore Mentri Besar Ghani Othman, Ambiga Sreeenevasan, Andrew Sheng and Sheriff Kassim sought the consent of the King on their proposal to form a deliberative platform under the auspices of the Conference of Rulers “to deliberate and recommend systemic reforms towards a better Malaysia.
Their objective was for a Malaysia that is politically more democratic and stable, economically more dynamic and conditioned to face pressing challenges such the 4th Industrial Revolution and climate change; and socially more just and “aligned with our original aspirations of becoming a nation of Malaysians”.
In their request, the group had said that the Better Malaysia Assembly would be the first step in a much-needed comprehensive national reset. It would focus on:
· a reaffirmation of the principles of Malaysian nationhood and our implicit social contracts
· deliberations and recommendations on how our democracy, institutions and economy should function, including but not limited to issues of electoral system, political funding, federal-state relations, role of institutions, affirmative action and education
· identifying the specific policy and legislative changes required
Kit Siang in his statement commended their move and agreed that the reforms of the nation in the early 70s, including the introduction of the New Economic Policy, were to cater to the needs of the nation at that time.
He cited the following excerpts from the group’s proposal.
“But these reforms were not designed to last indefinitely, and in the case of the New Economic Policy (NEP), a 20-year term limit was set. This national reset took place over 50 years ago, and even though so much has changed for Malaysia and Malaysians, the system remains substantially in place.
“In its early years, the new system was largely successful, bringing much needed political stability, accelerating economic growth, reducing poverty and rebalancing wealth between communities.
“But the system also had negative side effects, namely heightened corruption, the hardening of identity politics and concentration of power, which grew in prominence as the system was prolonged. These negative side effects feed on each other and are at the heart of Malaysia’s systemic dysfunctions today.
“Furthermore, the system grew resistant to reforms: the Abdullah Badawi, Najib and second Mahathir administrations all began with promises of substantial reforms, but failed to achieve material change. In many instances, piecemeal reform proposals were quickly given racial or religious overtones by vested interests and effectively resisted.”
Elaborating on the call, Kit Siang said it was time for a major reset of national policies and institutions.
He further proposed that a ten-year plan should be put in place to undo damages to the country.
“We must inculcate among Malaysians the mindset of “Malaysian First”, whether they are Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans or whether they are Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikkhists or Taoists.”