Daim: CEP no longer needed

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Tun Daim Zainuddin today said that the Council of Eminent Persons has fulfilled its task and is no longer necessary. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — The Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) has fulfilled its task and is no longer necessary, Tun Daim Zainuddin declared today.

Daim, who leads the council, made the suggestion despite Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad previously saying he still needed its services.

“As far as I am concerned, the 100th day is over and the last day was yesterday,” the former minister said to a packed press conference that lasted almost an hour.

The CEP announced today the completion of its mandate as well as a report containing the council’s recommendations for political, social and economic reforms.

The council was established by Dr Mahathir just three days after Pakatan Harapan took power in the 14th general election.

It was mandated to consult, identify and make recommendations for reform within 100 days, but Dr Mahathir recently said the government may still require the council’s services.

Daim was pressed persistently by the press to clarify if the government is planning to retain the CEP, but the former finance minister was seemingly unaware about the prime minister’s statement.

“I will make an appointment with him when he returns from China and see what role he wants us [to play],” he said.

“But as far as I am concerned, we have finished the 100 days, so the rest of us can get back to their jobs.

“Remember, they are volunteers,” he added, referring to the council members.

When asked if he or the council would accept the offer to remain as government advisors, Daim replied: “Not necessary we have enough capable people. Give them time and they will master it.”

The CEP’s formation came amid protest from mostly Barisan Nasional and some Pakatan Harapan lawmakers over concerns about the council’s legitimacy.

Detractors claimed the council appeared to wield tremendous power over the new administration, pointing to allegations that it had in many instances overstepped its jurisdiction.

Daim denied the allegation and maintained that the CEP merely plays an advisory role and that it has no power to make the government implement any of its recommendations.

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