Dr. Mahathir was never sincere in wanting to have the NECC as a forum to seek a national consensus for post-1990 national economic policies

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Wednesday, 29th August, 1990:

Dr. Mahathir was never sincere in wanting to have the NECC as a forum to seek a national consensus for post-1990 national economic policies.

The press today reported the withdrawal of five more mem¬bers from the National Economic Consultative Council (NECC) in protest against the lack of sincerity of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, in establishing the NECC, which was, most recently illustrated by his speech to the Harvard Club last week.

The five members are former Auditor-General, Tan Sri Ahmad Noordin Zakaria, Aliran President
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, lawyer Chooi Mun Sou, Parti Rakyat Malaysia secretary-general Dr. Sanusi Osman and university lecturer Dr. K.S. Jomo.

It is clear that right from the start Dr. Mahathir was not sincere in wanting to have the NECC as a forum to seek a national consensual for post-1990 national economic policies.

This could be seen by the composition of the NECC, where top Barisan Nasional leaders are not represented or by its modus operandi, where NECC members were denied data and information about
the 20-year operation of the New Economic Policy and which are in the possession of the governments,
or by the undemocratic proceedings which led to the DAP’s five representatives and several other NECC represen¬tatives to pull out of the NECC last year.

Both Dr. Mahathir, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar, Baba, want to use the DAP as a favourite ‘whipping’ boy as the cause why the NECC could not arrive at a consensus, and why the Government need not accept the recommendations of the NECC.

This is turning logic on its head! If the DAP is so ‘destructive and negative’ as alleged by the Barisan Nasional leaders, then the DAP’s absence in the NECC should enable the NECC to come up with a consensus which the government should accept without reserva¬tion.

In this manner, the Barisan Nasional Government could isolate the DAP as outside the national mainstream of ideas about post-1990 national economic policies. Why didn’t Dr. Mahathir declare that with the DAP outside the NECC, the Government would accept all the recommendations of the NECC?

The answer is very simple. Whether the DAP is inside the NECC or outside, Dr. Mahathir has no intention of accepting the NECC’s recommendations. As Dr. Mahathir said in a speech in Singa¬pore at the end of 1989, the NECC would fail and the Government itself would prepare the national economic policy after 1990.

This is the best proof that the Barisan Nasional Government, had no intention to accommodate the ideas not only of the DAP, but also of all other political parties, organisations and individuals outside the Barisan Nasional.

If the government is not prepared to accept the recommenda¬tions of the NECC because of the withdrawal of the DAP, why didn’t Dr. Mahathir make clear his stand last year itself, and ask the NECC members to consider whether they want to continue with their academic exercise or dissolve the NECC so as not to waste public funds as well as the precious time of the NECC members.

The NECC is nothing more than a sham consultative process. The Consultative Council on the Education Act 1990 appears to be another such sham consultative process of the Barisan Nasional govern¬ment, to deny the people the right to know the contents of the new Education Art and to decide whether to endorse or reject the new education law in the next general elections.