Anwar: Ministers must be on steep learning curve

Hidir Reduan and Mohd Noor Aswad

PETALING JAYA: The best way for the many inexperienced ministers and their deputies in the current administration to tackle their portfolios effectively, is for them to be on a steep learning curve.

Prime-minister-in-waiting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said while he did not discount the role being played by the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP), members of the Cabinet must open themselves to the views and opinions of those with sound knowledge of areas that were under their purview.

“My advice to the Cabinet is to be fast on the learning, listen a bit more and to be more circumspect before making quick pronouncements and then backtracking the next day... These things must be avoided.

"I do not have a position (in the government) but I spend hours listening to economic reports, papers presented, economic policy reviews ...."That is what you need to do ... we need to listen to many quarters, not only CEP but others too. To digest (their views),” he said.


Prime-minister-in-waiting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said while he did not discount the role being played by the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP), members of the Cabinet must open themselves to the views and opinions of those with sound knowledge of areas that were under their purview. Pic by NSTP/ASYRAF HAMZAH

Anwar said he recognised that it was the prerogative of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to decide on the CEP.

“We give the prerogative to PM (Dr Mahathir) to determine the structure that he feels is suitable. He has a Cabinet and he feels he needs the CEP. Now in the new administration, there are many differing opinions.

“It is past 100 days (of Pakatan Harapan’s administration) and the PM said to continue (with CEP) and then (CEP member and economist) Jomo (Kwame Sundaram) said there is no need to continue (with CEP), so we must look into the situation closely.

“But with regard to my stance, we give the prerogative to the PM. If he feels there is a need for such a group of advisors (CEP), then continue with it,” said Anwar.

Anwar also said he was against the idea of the Cabinet setting up their own advisory council, saying it should instead take the time to listen to the experts.

“Like the ministers wanting to setup their own advisory council, I do not believe that is the best option as there are hundreds of groups (specialising) in education, health, or the economy. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd