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'Set up Economic Council-like body to replace CEP'

Published:  |  Modified:

With the Council of Eminent Persons’ mandate nearing its end, former minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan has proposed that the government set up another advisory body to replace it.

Rahman suggested that this new body should be similar to the BN-era National Economic Council – which comprised cabinet members and private sector representatives, and functioned to advise the government on economic matters.

“Any projects or ideas presented in Economic Council must be approved by relevant ministers who must be present during the presentations.

“Major decisions by Economic Council have to be referred to and endorsed by cabinet. The presence of senior government officers and ministers, including the prime minister and his deputy, legitimised the Economic Council,” he said in a series of tweets today.

The Economic Council had included the prime minister and his deputy, first and second finance ministers, minister and director-general in charge of the Economic Planning Unit, international trade and industry minister, Bank Negara governor, chief secretary to the government, and the treasury secretary-general.

Rahman added that former private sector representatives who sat on the council included former Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers president Yong Poh Kon, former Maybank president Abdul Wahid Omar, and Pemandu Associates CEO Idris Jala.

“This is the best way forward.

“The Economic Council’s powers won’t supersede cabinet’s powers and (CEP members) Daim Zainuddin, Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Robert Kuok, and Mohd Hassan Marican can continue advising the government on economic issues without compromising the cabinet’s executive powers,” he tweeted.

Rahman was the minister in charge of the EPU prior to the 14th general election.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had set up the CEP three days after the May 9 polls, and granted it 100 days to advise the government on a pro bono basis. Its tenure is expected to expire on or around Aug 20.

However, CEP then came under fire for allegedly overstepping its advisory role, which former spokesperson A Kadir Jasin denies.

Today, Rahman said he hopes that the CEP will indeed be dismantled at the end of its 100-day mandate, stressing that its “extrajudicial” powers are hard to justify.

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