The first 2003
economic stimulus package should be presented to Parliament in early April
for debate and approval to underline the principle of parliamentary
government as distinct from Cabinet government
by Lim Kit Siang
The first 2003 economic stimulus package should be presented to Parliament
in early April for debate and approval before the end of its current meeting
to underline the principle of parliamentary government as distinct from
According to latest reports, the government has postponed to April 7 the
unveiling of the stimulus package aimed at sustaining economic growth amid
worries over a possible Gulf War breaking out in the coming weeks.
The package's unveiling had been postponed from end-March due to "scheduling
problems" as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad is due to return
home in the first week of April before continuing his two months' leave.
This is rather inexplicable. Why should the date for the presentation of the
first 2003 economic stimulus package be scheduled to fit in with Mahathir's
schedule, when he is on a two-month leave with Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad
Badawi occupying the triple posts of Acting Prime Minister, Acting Finance
Minister apart from being Home Minister?
Is the final approval for the first 2003 economic stimulus package to be
given by Mahathir, although he is on leave for two months, and not by
Abdullah despite being the Acting Finance Minister and Acting Prime Minister
for these two months? Is the economic stimulus package to be announced by
Mahathir rather than Abdullah?
If the 2003 economic stimulus package has to be re-scheduled, it should be
to fit in with Parliament's schedule and not with the itinerary of Mahathir
during his two-month leave!
because the economic stimulus package should be presented to Parliament for
debate and approval, especially as Parliament is currently in session.
It would be an act of supreme and utter contempt for Parliament if the first
2003 economic stimulus package is presented outside Parliament although it
is in session - only to be brought to Parliament a few months later for
rubber-stamping for retrospective approval of additional budget allocations
by way of supplementary budget estimates. If so, then Parliament deserves to
be condemned as an useless and redundant organization, and completely
irrelevant as a result of the usurpation of its powers by the Executive and
the destruction of the doctrine of separation of powers.
For this reason, the first 2003 economic stimulus package should be
presented to Parliament with time for at least a two-day parliamentary
debate after a clear 24-hour interval for MPs to study the package. April 7
would be completely inappropriate as the Dewan Rakyat would be adjourning on
An ideal parliamentary time-table would be for the economic stimulus package
to be presented to Parliament on Thursday, 3rd April and for the two-day
debate on it to take place on April 7 and 8.
There are many matters about the economic direction and future which warrant
urgent and in-depth debate in Parliament as Malaysia is quite lost in the
deepening economic crisis facing the country, coupled with worsening
international competitiveness. This is why a parliamentary debate and
approval on the economic stimulus package is so imperative, relevant and
new measures announced by Abdullah last Tuesday to give impetus to the
development of a robust and competitive capital market failed to excite the
market, with the share prices of the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE)
ending lower than the previous day.
In fact, on the very same day, the second Finance Minister, Datuk Dr.
Jamaludin Jarjis had answered questions in Parliament on the new government
fund, the RM10 billion Valuecap Sdn. Bhd, denying that it was set up to bail
out some companies and had a political agenda eyeing the next general
Jamaludin however failed to address the grave ethical, accountability and
good governance questions.raised by the RM10 billion asset management
company, equally owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd., Permodalan Nasional Bhd
and Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pencen (KWAP), "to buy shares that were underpriced".
Although Jamaluddin said Valuecap's operation was to inject additional
institutional funds and boost liquidity, he conspicuously failed to point
out the utter failure of the RM1 billion - RM2 billion which Valuecap had
spent in the past two months to prop up the stock market, as the Kuala
Lumpur Composite Index (KLSE) last Tuesday closed at 619.22 points, which
was 6.54 points lower than the KLCI of 625.76 on January 9 - the day before
Valuecap started its intervention in the KLSE.
After throwing RM1 billion to RM 2 billion into the stock market, the KLCI
is lower than before the entry of Valuecap two months ago! Malaysians are
entitled to ask for a full explanation as to the rationale and modus
operandi of Valuecap, and the justification for throwing RM1 billion to RM2
billion down the drain in the past two months - and who actually were the
on the first 2003 economic stimulus package would be the occasion for a
wide-ranging review of the country''s proper economic directions and
objectives as well a demand for greater accountability for the government's
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National