This is the latest parliamentary disgrace in Malaysia where MPs, whether Barisan Nasional or Barisan Alternative, are treated with utter contempt by the Ministers and the Executive who have either no notion or commitment to the concept of parliamentary government.
The Barisan Nasional government had spent a few years to draft the Third Outline Perspective Plan (OPP) charting out the growth prospects and the strategies and policies that go with them for the next ten years yet it is giving MPs hardly 24 hours to read and digest it, seek public feedback as well as expert opinions, before they are required to conduct a knowledgeable and informed debate on the Plan.
All MPs, regardless of government or opposition, should stand up in unison in Parliament tomorrow to strongly protest against such contemptible and cavalier treatment by the government front-bench and demand fundamental reforms in the way parliamentary business is being conducted.
In 1999, the government formed the Second National Economic Consultative Council (NECC) to make recommendations to the government for the development plan for the next ten years 2001-2010 and which completed its work six months ago.
The report of the NECC2 should be made public together with the 3rd Outline Perspective Plan (2001-2010) for wide-ranging public debate in Parliament and the country.
The failure to make public the Third OPP and the Report of the Second NECC is most irresponsible on the part of the government, as these reports should have been the subject of a vigorous national discussion in the weeks preceding their parliamentary debate as the climax of a national debate on Malaysia’s development future in the coming decade.
The omission is most unfortunate, as the worst clashes in the country in 32 years in Kampung Medan and the surrounding squatter settlements at Jalan Klang Lama, Petaling Jaya last month is a sombre testimony of the failure of the second OPP (1991-2000) to promote socio-economic justice and political stability through the efficient management of the economy to achieve growth with equity in the country.
Despite the two OPPs in the past three decades and the seven five-year Malaysian Plans, Malaysia failed to develop a balanced, broad-based, resilient and internationally competitive economy to provide a stronger foundation for the attainment of sustained and equitable growth and development by the year 2,000.
The Barisan Nasional Cabinet cannot have very high regard for Parliament or the views of MPs, whether government or opposition, if the Ministers are only interested in going through the motion of having a parliamentary debate on the OPP3, although MPs would not have the chance to read and study it before the debate.
The parliamentary debate on the third OPP scheduled for Tuesday should be postponed by a week to allow MPs from both the Barisan Nasional and Barisan Alternative MPs as well as the country at large adequate time to first study the third OPP and the report of the Second NECC.