Don’t hide behind national security laws, DAP tells Rahman

liew-chin-tong-rahman-dahlaPETALING JAYA: DAP’s Liew Chin Tong has hit out at Abdul Rahman Dahlan for claiming that members of the opposition have “sabotaged” the economy by issuing certain statements that the minister considered a threat to national security.

In a strongly worded statement today, Liew, who is Kluang MP said Rahman, a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department should stop using National Security Council (NSC) laws to threaten and silence legitimate critics.

Liew was referring to Rahman’s call earlier this month for the NSC to take action against so-called acts of economic sabotage, and not limit the law to terrorist acts only.

In a report by The New Straits Times, the minister also said he had held discussions about classifying “economic sabotage” as a threat to national security.

One such example of sabotage, Rahman had said then, was the issuance of statements “giving the impression that the country’s economic status is deplorable”.

The minister however provided no details as to who he had the discussions with.

Speaking on the matter today, Liew said the idea of wielding NSC laws on those who had alternative views about the economy was “a dangerous sign of an intolerant regime not prepared to engage in sound and informed debate”.

He said although the Malaysian economy was good for kleptocrats, Umno cronies and the top 1% of the population, it was not good for the majority of Malaysians.

He cited Bank Negara’s 2016 report that revealed the rate of unemployment among youth stood at 10.7% in 2015, three times the national unemployment rate of 3.1%.

The report warned that if left unattended, “a generation of economically disenfranchised youth could have negative and far-reaching ramifications on the economic and social landscape”.

“Those in power, particularly ‘madmen in authority’ with no coherent economic ideas like Rahman Dahlan, have failed the next generation,” Liew said, borrowing the line from a quote by John Maynard Keynes.

He asked if Rahman was going to take Bank Negara to task for economic sabotage over its statement that the government had failed in its economic management to create jobs.

He added that it was time for the minister to engage in informed and civil debates about the Malaysian economy, and welcomed any debate with Rahman on national television on whether the economy under Barisan Nasional had failed the next generation.

“Hopefully he is brave enough to face legitimate critics like me, and not to hide behind the NSC law,” he said.