(Dewan Rakyat, Tuesday): I regret that Parliament has not seen fit or urgent to have an emergency debate on the five-month long national economic crisis, especially the need for the government to reconsider its proposal to establish a National Economic Action Council (NEAC) and to debate the most effective way to address the five-month-long national economic crisis with the Malaysian ringgit falling to the all-time low of US$1=RM3.9150 despite the holding of an ASEAN 30th Commemorative Summit as well as the ASEAN Plus Three Dialogue with leaders of China, Japan and South Korea.
Malaysia still suffers from a very serious "denial syndrome" despite five months of the prolonged economic crisis, which have caused over RM620 billion losses in the past five months as a result of the currency and stock market plunges, and the most serious headquarters of "denial syndrome" is undoubtedly Parliament itself, with all Barisan Nasional MPs denying that the country is faced with a very serious economic crisis which can only get worse before it gets better as well as denying that they are suffering from a "denial syndrome"!
I regret that certain sections of my motion had been deleted by the Speaker, Tan Sri Mohamad Zahir although they are directly related to my motion to seek the adjournment of Parliament to discuss the proposed NEAC as well as "the most effective way to address the five-month-long national economic crisis."
The first portion of the motion which I had submitted to the Speaker and which had been deleted concerned the need for a National Economic Crisis Cabinet and the formation of a National Economic Crisis Consultative Council (NECCC), and reads as follows:
"To form such a National Economic Crisis Cabinet, the Prime Minister should tap experts in the private and public sectors who are not MPs, by appointing them as Senators. This will also raise the standards of the Senate, which at present is nothing more than a refuge for political has-beens and political rejects who could not get elected into Parliament through the front door.
"Furthermore, the government should form a National Economic Crisis Consultative Council (NECCC) comprising representatives from all political parties, both government and opposition, industry, commerce, trade unions, professional bodies, NGOs, so that it could be a nationally unifying force to unite and mobilise all Malaysians behind a national economic recovery programme to tide the country through the economic crisis in the shortest time possible.
"The first primary task of the NECCC should be to purge the country of the prevalent and widespread ‘denial syndrome’ propaganda, with many Malaysians from the highest levels downwards who still think that the economic and financial crisis would have minimal impact on everyday life on the ground that the country’s fundamentals are strong, national savings rate is high, exports are rising and the current accounts deficits are coming down."
Another portion of my motion which had deleted refers to my specific proposals on the composition of the NECCC, which is as follows:
To ensure that the NECCC would be a nationally unifying force mobilising all Malaysians, regardless of political differences to act as one unit to tide through the national economic crisis in the shortest time possible and with the least social injustices and upheavals, the NECC should:
I believe that if my proposals for a National Economic Crisis Cabinet and a NECCC are accepted, these would be great confidence-enhancing measures.
I am sure that both these proposals would receive positive market responses because of the boosting effect they would have on confidence, which would be better than the 1998 budget on Oct. 17 when both the currency and stock market kept declining, or even the Second Budget in the form of the emergency financial package on Dec. 5, which was later presented to Parliament on Dec. 8, but which was very short-lived in securing positive responses from the currency and stock market.
I propose to seek an appointment with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to urge on him the importance and urgency of a major cabinet reshuffle to establish a National Economic Crisis Cabinet of technocrats and an Opposition-headed NECCC.