DAP: Include Rafidah, Jomo in National Recovery Council

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DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has called for former minister Rafidah Aziz and prominent economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram to be also appointed to the government’s National Recovery Council (MPN).

In a statement, Lim claimed that some of the experts roped in by the government so far did not qualify to be on the council as they had “condoned or maintained a loud silence” on the 1MDB scandal.

He said Putrajaya needed to bring to the council subject matter experts who did not have any political links or contentious legacies with previous governments.

“Other subject matter experts that should have been considered for the MPN are prominent economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram, who places emphasis on the poor and socially disadvantaged.

“Famous cardiothoracic surgeon Yahya Awang can offer a different medical perspective on the way out of the current health crisis.

“Malaysia’s ‘Iron Lady’ Rafidah Aziz should also be chosen as one who will not fear to speak the truth.”

Lim also took a jab at international trade and industry minister Azmin Ali after former Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Azman Mokhtar was included in the council, pointing out that Azmin had been a strong critic of Azman previously.

“Azmin revealed in Parliament in 2018 that Khazanah lost US$20 million in a lingerie retail investment in India and a RM3 billon investment via private equity to take over a bank which went bust.

“If Azman is now appointed, is this not a humiliating slap in the face for Azmin?”

Finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz yesterday said Pakatan Harapan, Warisan and Pejuang had been invited to send representatives to be part of the council. Representatives of the Sabah and Sarawak state governments would also be invited.

He said a number of experts from various industries have voiced their willingness to lend their expertise and experience, including former minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop, AirAsia co-founder Tony Fernandes and infectious diseases expert Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman.

Other experts include SME Association of Malaysia president Michael Kang, Dr Sivakumar Thurairajasingam from the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine & Health Sciences, child rights activist Hartini Zainudin, former education director-general Habibah Abdul Rahim, and Star Media group adviser Wong Chun Wai.

DAP has objected to the participation of Wong in the NRC.

According to Lim, Wong is an employee of the Star Media Group which is controlled by the MCA.

“Wong is naturally a mouthpiece of MCA. But he also aggressively promoted the infamous Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, of 1MDB fame by interviewing and publishing (the piece) on Low in The Star on July 29, 2010.

“When the financial wrongdoings in 1MDB were exposed, neither The Star nor Wong offered any mea culpa nor pursued the shady dealings unlike The Edge newspaper,” Lim said in a statement today.

The Bagan MP argued that members of the NRC must not only have a professional background but possess the “unbridled courage” to speak truth to power.

“Several of the so-called subject matter experts appointed obviously do not qualify when they had either condoned or maintained a loud silence on the greatest financial scandal in history,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lim revealed that the DAP did not receive an invitation to join the council. If it does receive an invitation, the party will study the terms of reference first before making a commitment.

According to Zafrul, Pakatan Harapan will be invited to participate in the council.

The list of “industry experts” invited to the council is as follows:

  • Nor Mohamed Yakcop – former finance minister
  • Azman Mokhtar – former Khazanah Bhd CEO
  • Anthony Fernandes – AirAsia Group CEO
  • Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman – professor at UM faculty of medicine
  • Wong Chun Wai – Star Media Group advisor
  • Michael Kang – SME Association chairperson
  • Habibah Abdul Rahim – former senior civil servant
  • Hartini Zainuddin – activist
  • Dr Sivakumar Thurairajasingam – psychiatry expert