Removal of Chandra Muzaffar from National Information Technology Council (NITC) not good sign that the government is prepared to rise above politics to involve all sectors of Malaysian society to formulate a K-economy master plan

- Majlis Makan Malam & Dialog Bersama Pimpinan Barisan Alternatif organized by Markaz Siswazah Kelantan - "Halatuju (Cabaran & Harapan) Barisan Alternatif di Alaf Baru"
by Lim Kit Siang

(Kota Bahru, Thursday): Yesterday, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad announced that the government was drafting a national K-economy master plan to create a knowledge-driven economy.

He said that the K-economy master plan would not be drafted by the best brains behind closed 
doors because it must be relevant to every Malaysian and become a personal  master plan for all.

He said the master plan must belong to all Malaysians and that "the whole process of national consultation, brainstorming, drafting and national mobilisation should be completed within 18 months from this day".

However, the government has not shown that it is capable of rising above politics to involve all sectors of the Malaysian society in order to formulate a K-economy master plan which belongs to all Malaysians and relevant to every Malaysian.

Only last week, the Prime Minister, who is the Chairman of the National Information Technology Council (NITC) which is responsible for the National IT Agenda, directed the removal of Dr. Chandra Muzaffar as a member, patently on the ground that he is Deputy Chairman of Parti Keadilan Nasional.

If the Prime Minister sees the National IT Agenda from such a narrow perspective, how can anyone have the confidence that the K-economy master plan will involve all sectors of Malaysian society, regardless of political differences?

If Mahathir is really serious in wanting to involve all sectors of Malaysian society in the formulation of the K-economy master plan, Dr. Chandra Muzaffar should be reinstated as a member of the NITC and others representing other Barisan Alternative parties should also be appointed.

Work on the K-economy master plan had started in the past few months.  The question is why there wasn't the fullest  public involvement right from the beginning of its formulation.

On the one hand, Mahathir said that the whole process of formulation of the K-economy master plan would take 18 months, but in the same speech, he said that "many of the vital measures to be taken would be incorporated in the Budget to be tabled in October", confirming that work on K-economy master plan is already very advanced.

This is not the only inconsistency in Mahathir's speech to the second Global Knowledge Conference yesterday.

Other inconsistencies include:

I do not know whether Mahathir is aware of these glaring inconsistencies or whether he has become more and more cut off from the real people and the real world but the transition for Malaysia to the K-economy cannot be through such a cluster of inconsistencies.

If Mahathir wants Malaysia to succeed as a K-economy in the information age, he should recognize that an essential perequsite for the success of the transition of Malaysia into a K-economy is having a K-government and K-Parliament which are not afraid of a free flow of information and fully committed to the values of justice, openness, transparency and accountability.

No "extraordinary world citizen" is going to prefer Malaysia compared to  other countries unless we are prepared to build a New Malaysia distinguished by the  principles and values of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman