(Sibu, Sunday): The National Economic Recovery Plan (NERP) presented by the National Economic Action Council (NEAC) had proposed that as the economic crisis had been "prolonged by the weakening of confidence", steps should be taken to strengthen public and corporate governance and enhance transparency and accountability.
It recommended "more frequent release of economic data to allow analyses and to increase transparency". It pointed out that in the United Kingdom, the minutes of the Bank of England board meetings are released to the public, while the US Treasury releases economic data at a regular and timely manner.
I fully support this proposal by the NEAC in the NERP. Unfortunately, the NEAC has not been able to act on its own proposals, for ten days after Special Functions Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin made public the NERP, Members of Parliament still have not got copies of the NERP to study and discuss its recommendations.
Daim should regard it as an urgent priority to ensure that MPs are given copies of the NERP before the Dewan Rakyat adjourns next Tuesday, if the credibility of the NERP and the NEAC are not to become an issue.
In this connection, I would like to ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, to make a Ministerial statement in Parliament tomorrow to report on the second quarterly performance of the Malaysian economy.
Other countries have reported on the second quarterly performance of their economies from April to June and I do not see why the government is so tardy in releasing economic data concerning the second quarter.
During the first quarter, the Malaysian economy contracted by 1.8 per
cent and Malaysians are eager to know the gravity of the GDP contraction
in the second quarter of the year.
The economic prospects for 1998 in a scenario of projected -1% to -2% GDP contraction is already very grim and bleak.
The NERP for instance makes the following sectoral projections for the
Malaysian economy this year:
The release of economic data for the second quarter of the year will indicate whether the NERP's sectoral projections are unduly pessimistic or overly optimistic.