The lack of trust in the federal government and its key institutions due to the 1MDB controversy have made the convening of a second National Consultative Council (NCC2) more urgent, said CIMB Group chairperson Nazir Razak.
Nazir, who mooted the establishment of NCC2 in September last year, said the 1MDB controversy has led to an intensification in the competition for power, exposing Malaysia’s ethnic fault lines further.
“Politicians will be tempted to resort to extremes, and in our case, amplify our racial and religious differences. At that point it becomes dangerous, as we have witnessed in the past.
“We are not there yet, of course, but there are ominous signs, in my opinion,” he told The Malay Mail Online in an interview published today.
The original NCC, formed by Nazir’s father and second prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein in 1970, had formulated the New Economic Policy (NEP).
‘NEP is out-of-date, abused’
However, the NEP was subject to abuse and is less relevant to the current socio-political situation, said Nazir.
“It is now 46 years old, out-of-date and being abused to mask all sorts of unhealthy practices.
“Economic drivers today are also so different – for instance, talent and entrepreneurship are crucial, yet the NEP is skewed to advancing the role of government and arguably, the interest of big business.
“Talent, for instance, has become the preeminent economic driver in this new era, and yet the socio-political conditions in Malaysia are not conducive to developing and retaining the best Malaysian talents, what more attracting top foreign talents.
“You can’t resolve our talent issues without addressing the socio-political dimensions, including the thorny issue of vernacular and national schools,” Nazir explained.
He proposed that NCC2 be formed either by the government, Parliament or by an independent group that would attract equitable representation and draw public support.
Thus far, the ruling party has been divided on this proposal, but Nazir remains hopeful that things would change.
“You cannot have a truly representative platform without the ruling party represented. So, I do not see a path without the support of the government.
“Some component parties of the ruling coalition have openly supported the idea, I hope that others will, too.
“It is normal for incumbents to resist radical change ideas, but I am hopeful,” Nazir said.