Call on Anwar Ibrahim to make a Ministerial statement on the second quarterly economic performance of Malaysia in Parliament tomorrow

- Sarawak DAP State Convention

by Lim Kit Siang  

(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.

NERP's warning that the Malaysian  GDP could  contract more than the projected  -1% to -2% if there is "continuing lack of confidence"

Anwar should be forthcoming with all the economic data and statistics in order to restore confidence, as the NERP had warned that the Malaysian GDP could contract more than the projected -1% to -2% if there is "continuing lack of confidence".

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.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong