Call to government to release Second Malaysia Plan to MPs and to give them ample time to study the Plan before Parliamentary debate

Extracts of Closing speech by DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, at the two-day DAP MPs’ seminar on Economic Development in Malaysia” held on Klang on 19th and 20th June 1971

Call to government to release Second Malaysia Plan to MPs and to give them ample time to study the Plan before Parliamentary debate
Parliament is to meet in two weeks time to debate and approve the Second Malaysia Five-Year Plan, which will play down the economic future of the country for the next five years,

But till today, Members of Parliament have not received copies of the Second Five-Year Plan.

It would appear that the Alliance government would not want Members of Parliament time to study the Five-Year Plan, absorb the impact of public opinion and reaction to the Plan, and have an intelligent discussion and debate on an important subject which will influence the economic life of the country, not only for the next five years, but also for the next generation.

The government has taken years, and brought in world experts from all parts of the world, to help in drawing up the Five Year Plan. We know that the Five Year Plan had been ready for months. A fortnight ago, the Prime Minister has even given a press conference to announce the large outlines of the Malaysia Plan.

But MPs, who have the heavy responsibility of deciding whether to approve then Plan or not, have not been given copies of the Plan.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister whether he would give MPs ample time to study the Second Malaysia Plan which required the entire government machinery, together with foreign experts, years to formulate before the debate in Parliament. Or whether MPs would be given only one or two days to study what had taken the government years to prepare?

As it is the duty of MPs not only to express their own views, but also to transmit the public views in Parliament, the debate on the Second Malaysia Plan should only take place after the public have had the opportunity to study the plan, and after extensive debate on it has been held in the public arena.

To expect the Parliament to debate the Second Malaysia Plan without giving MPs time to study the Plan, and without giving the public and the nation time to debate it is to show utter contempt for the Members of Parliament and the public. This is tantamount to treating the Parliament as a rubber-stamp chamber, and not as the highest forum for the discussion and deliberation of important national problems and issues.

I therefore call on Tun Abdul Razak to show courtesy to the nation and to the Parliament by giving the public and the MPs ample time to study, discuss and examine the Second Five Malaysia Plan before the Parliamentary debate on the Plan.