PM: I didn't dismiss Daim, still need him

Leslie Lau
The Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) chairman Tun Daim Zainuddin speaks during a press conference at Ilham Tower in Kuala Lumpur August 20, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara

BEIJING, Aug 21 ― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today that Tun Daim Zainuddin is still needed to chair the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP).

“I want him to be there, to do part of my job, to trace the money,” Dr Mahathir told Malaysian reporters here at the end of his five-day official visit to China.

Daim said yesterday that as far as he was concerned, the mandate of the CEP expired last Saturday and that he would need to discuss his future role with Dr Mahathir.

The PM today provided the answer.

“I didn't dismiss him, In fact, I don't pay him a single sen,” Dr Mahathir said today when asked about Daim's future.

Daim told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday that the CEP was no longer needed and that its mandate had expired.

The five-member council was established by Dr Mahathir just three days after his Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition took federal power in the May 9 general election.

Apart from Daim, the members were former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas CEO Tan Sri Hassan Marican, economist Professor Jomo Kwame Sundaram and tycoon Robert Kuok.

The CEP was mandated to consult, identify and make recommendations for reform within 100 days, but Dr Mahathir had said the government is not bound to act according to the council’s suggestions.

Daim had said he would make an appointment with Dr Mahathir after the latter returns from China to see what role the PM wanted Daim and the CEP to play now.

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