THE second National Consultative Council (NCC2), as proposed by Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, is what our country needs to find solutions for the various multi-faceted and unresolved issues plaguing us now.

Issues like institutionalised corruption, public and private sector integrity, border security, worsening drug abuse situation and drug-related crimes, racial and religious extremism, urban poverty, rising cost of living and unemployment as well as lack of affordable housing need enduring solutions.

The persistent political and social conflict is another important issue which, if not resolved speedily, can affect public confidence towards the Government.

These issues are faced by Malaysians at a time when race relations in the country is approaching the lowest ebb, the political scene is getting uglier and some quarters of society are taking to the streets, calling themselves yellow or red shirt groups as if emulating the practice in neighbouring Thailand.

Looking at the current scenario, it is timely that the NCC2 be established. This is the time to adopt effective, non-partisan solutions to address structural problems in the country’s social, economic and political spheres and put things in order.

Nazir, who is CIMB Group chairman, recently repeated his call for the setting up of the NCC2 as a national platform for reconciliation to address the socio-economic and political challenges in the country.

I am of the view that members of the NCC2 should be the best and brightest minds from a cross-section of our community to formulate a new socio-economic plan and political order for the country and create a new vision for Malaysia.

It has also been proposed that the NCC2 should be set up under the auspices of the Conference of Rulers to maintain its impartiality.

Exactly a year ago at the Khazanah Megatrends Forum 2015, Nazir identified six critical issues which should be deliberated by the NCC2.

The six issues are constitutional reform, electoral reform, economic reform, national unity and the social contract, preserving and strengthening the integrity of the federation, and institutional integrity.

The first NCC was set up after the May 13 racial riots in 1969 by our second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who was also Nazir’s father.

The NCC was formed in January 1970 with the aim of fostering moderation, inter-racial cooperation and national unity for the growth of a Malaysian national identity. The NCC then had representatives from political parties as well as public figures from various sectors.

One of the Council’s major initiative was the creation of the Rukunegara (national principles), which was aimed at fostering harmony and unity in the multi-racial society of Malaysia.

The time has come for us to raise the status and role of the Rukunegara in the midst of the new challenges facing our nation.

We need to give a fresh thrust to the Rukunegara by making it the preamble to our Federal Constitution. This will give the Rukunegara the significance and value it deserves.

It is heartening to note that the proposal to set up the NCC2 has received the support of many prominent and eminent Malaysians. Even the former Perlis mufti stated that the NCC2 is important for the unity of the next generation.

Minister in the PM’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup has also given his blessing to the NCC2 and even suggested that the proposed council be turned into a permanent body through an Act of Parliament.

Former Cabinet minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz has urged patriotic Malaysians to support the establishment of an inclusive and apolitical NCC2 instead of joining street protests or trading harsh words.

I believe the NCC2 must be made up of truly eminent Malaysians with high moral values and integrity who would deliberate on sensitive issues rationally and with mutual respect for one another.

The high-profile NCC2 membership should transcend politics, race and religion in order to work towards the common goal of a better Malaysia and to revive the spirit of “Malaysian-ness”.

The NCC2 should represent the voice of the rakyat. Thus, the rakyat’s input, feedback and views should be sought for any outcome, proposal or initiative decided by the council.

The NCC2 should be entrusted with the responsibility of charting a new future for Malaysia. When making their decisions, the NCC2 members should have the interests of future generations in mind.

The proposed NCC2 may be the much-needed key to unlock constructive and functional answers for the myriad of issues as well as restore public confidence in this multi-racial nation.

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