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Why isn’t Ismail Sabri in charge of the NRP?

With Money Running Out To Battle The Adverse Economic Impact And Covid-19 Itself, Ismail Sabri Must Stop Sub-contracting His Powers But Take Charge By Injecting RM45 Billion To Prevent Funds From Running Out.

DAP is openly sceptical about Prime Minister Ismail Sabri’s commitment to institutional reforms in any accord with the Opposition to launch a whole of nation battle against the COVID-19 pandemic when he is not even committed to saving the economy by refusing to chair the National Recovery Plan(NRP) Council.  The NRP is supposed to be a roadmap to control the COVID-19 pandemic while progressively reopening society and the economy towards the new normal by December 2021.

As prime minister, Mahiaddin took charge of the NRP previously

Due to its importance, the NRP has been chaired by the Prime Minister with members comprising all sectors to demonstrate the whole-of-society effort to win the battle against COVID-19 and pull the economy out of the recession. Ismail’s appointment of Mahiaddin Md Yassin as the Chairman of the NRP Council with Ministerial status only demonstrates the new Prime Minister Ismail Sabri’s lack of commitment towards NRP to normalize both the economy and the country.

If Ismail is not even committed towards the NRP Council, how then can Ismail generate confidence that he will be committed to institutional reforms such as Anti-Hopping Law to cut down defections by MPs that betray their electoral mandate? Such actions belie Ismail’s earlier professed commitment when he met the 3 leaders of Pakatan Harapan in his office in Putrajaya on 25 August.

The NRP should be exercising real powers to act immediately and not be reduced to a mere “talk-shop” headed by a disgraced former Prime Minister, seen as responsible for causing the nation’s worst health crisis and economic recession with more than RM500 billion in economic losses, and a cumulative 1,862,187 cases and 18,491 deaths, making Malaysia amongst the highest countries in the world in daily infections per capita. What can Mahiaddin do now to turn things around economically as a former Prime Minister when he failed to do so whilst exercising full powers of Prime Minister despite launching 8 economic stimulus packages totalling RM530 billion?

The post of the NRP Council Chairman must not be seen as a mere window dressing to rubber-stamp existing failed economic policies or a form of political consolation offered by Ismail to Mahiadddin after being forced to resign as Prime Minister on 16 August. The country faces real problems with money running out to battle the economic recession and COVID-19 itself, coming at a most inopportune time when the COVID-19 pandemic is at its peak with all the dangerous high-risk COVID-19 variants making threatening breakthroughs.  

With money running out for the second half of the year, it is critical that an additional RM45 billion in direct funding be provided to prevent Malaysia from being overwhelmed by any new wave of COVID-19. With money running out to battle the adverse economic impact and Covid-19 itself, Ismail Sabri must stop sub-contracting his powers but take charge of the economy by injecting RM45 billion directly to prevent funds from running out. There is no time to lose by giving priority to political games of offering posts and positions when focus should primarily on fighting COVID-19 to save lives and livelihoods.

Lim Guan Eng
DAP Secretary-General

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