In what seems to be an attempt to solve the country’s myriad of issues that unfortunately still includes racial harmony along with democracy, federation systems and economic problems, there have recently been calls to set up a second National Consultative Council (NCC).
One of the parties that is assertive over the idea is Datuk Seri Nazir Razak – younger brother of the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the youngest son of the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein who set up the first NCC back in the 1970.
There may have been pockets of improvements here and there in terms of promoting and strengthening of racial harmony, but most would agree that the present situation in the country is in need of immediate restoration works.
Would a second NCC help make improvements as backed by several quarters in the last few days after Nazir had made his call to set up a “new” NCC that involves lesser political figures and government appointees?
Would those appointed to the council need not be paid for their time and effort? Or would they be willing to play their roles for the country pro-bono? Most likely, the answer would be ‘no’.
It is a waste of tax payers’ money, says constitutional expert and academician Professor Dr Aziz Bari.
“I say this because, by setting up another NCC, it means the country would need to support more of the appointees when we already have so many other institutions in place but are not functioning to their full potentials.
“We already have the Conference of Rulers, the Parliament and several institutions that have the power (so to say) to make a difference, but are any of these effective?” questions Aziz.
There is no need for another institution if these powers that be are exercising their responsibilities and making necessary changes, Aziz adds.
“Even if we have another NCC, what use is it when the very top is not doing anything to influence changes?
“They are there, but they are not saying anything. It does not help make any difference if they only come out once in a while to make a few statements here and there,” says Aziz.
Meanwhile, several quarters suggested that the NCC be set up to include less politicians while also “replacing” street protests.
“The NCC cannot be compared to street protests as it cannot accommodate everyone’s requests. Street protests cater to a different kind of audience and therefore should not be compared to the NCC,” says Aziz.
Last Friday, Nazir, who is also the CIMB Group chairman said in an Instagram post that he hoped the idea of a NCC2 would be seriously considered as there was a need to gather the best minds and leaders from across society to unite for “national recalibration”.
He said that the country’s myriad of problems and tensions cannot be addressed piecemeal, it has to be holistic, re-making trade-offs and priorities for today’s generation and challenges.
He added that many would be amazed by what can be achieved when true Malaysians come together in a “spirit of moderation and country first”.
Soo Wern Jun