KUALA LUMPUR — Aug. 20, 2018: Former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin plans to meet Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to find out what the future holds for the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) now that its 100-day mandate has ended.
The CEP which Daim chairs will submit a report on its recommendations to Mahathir when the latter returns from his five-day visit to China.
“Our mandate is for 100 days, our last day was yesterday. When he (Mahathir) comes back, I will make an appointment to see him and consult him about what role he has in mind,” Daim told a press conference today.
According to Daim, as far as the CEP is concerned, it has finished its 100-day task and that everybody has gone back to their respective jobs.
Mahathir had on Thursday said that the CEP would not be disbanded as yet as its services were still needed.
Daim pointed out that CEP members were volunteers who had, at certain times, worked until 4 am to complete the report.
“If the prime minister wants to extend its (the CEP’s) term, they (members) are employed elsewhere. They are volunteers (at the CEP)…. they have to return to their jobs. I feel the government has to consider this,” he said.
On whether he was open to the idea that the CEP should be a permanent feature, Daim said: “In life nothing is permanent except paying taxes.”
On claims that the CEP had been bestowed with too much power, Daim disagreed, saying that the council’s role was only to gather and analyse information and offer advice.
The CEP was formed on May 12 by Mahathir to act as the advisor on economic, financial and other matters.
Other members of the CEP were former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Hassan Marican, business tycoon Robert Kuok and economist Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram.
On highway toll collection, Daim said the CEP felt that it would not be wise to do it now due to the challenging economic and financial position of the country.
“I think the rakyat will understand,” he remarked. — Bernama