Tg Piai loss - time to make public Council of Eminent Persons' report

Chiong Yoke Kong


ADUN SPEAKS | In the wake of the massive defeat in the Tanjung Piai by-election, I urge the government to declassify the Council of Eminent Persons' (CEP) 100-day report so that the findings of the report and its recommendations are accessible by all members of Parliament, state assemblypersons as well as the general public. This effort will allow us to reflect on the progress of national and social reforms that the government has made thus far and improve the quality and efficiency of governance as a means to allay public anger.

After Harapan took over the government on May 9, 2018, as many leaders lacked experience in government, the prime minister announced that five prominent Malaysians were to be appointed to form the CEP in order to discuss economic issues in our country and put forth recommendations to the government in 100 days. The five eminent persons were former finance minister Daim Zainuddin, former governor of Malaysia’s central bank Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former CEO of Petronas Hassan Marican, prominent economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram as well as Malaysia’s richest man Robert Kuok.

According to CEP chairperson Daim Zainuddin, their report has compiled the analyses of views in various fields and incorporated 70 topics of recommendations for reform. However, ever since the report was submitted to the prime minister on Aug 7 last year, the prime minister has said openly several times that this report will not be made public. 

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin also said the report was placed under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and will not be made public. Therefore, the report has been submitted to the prime minister alone and even Harapan members of Parliament are not permitted to access it.

Such a decision is very unreasonable as even elected representatives of the government have no knowledge about the findings of the report and cannot brainstorm the recommendations. Moreover, we have no clue as to whether the recommendations incorporated in the report have been adopted by the prime minister and they cannot play a check-and-balance role.

If the government is worried about the repercussions on national security, the government can prioritise recommendations that are not directly related to national security and diplomatically sensitive matters, particularly recommendations that are relevant to improving livelihoods, the economy and governance.

Although Harapan has been the central government for a year and six months, our lacklustre performance, particularly the massive loss in the Tanjung Piai by-election with a whopping 15 thousand-vote margin, has strongly and clearly reflected public opinion and anger.

The cabinet and all members of the government must reflect on the chastening defeat and accept the verdict delivered by the people. The discontent of the people is not only due to Harapan’s failure in fulfilling all promises of the manifesto but also very much related to the low efficiency of the government that, at times, created even more hindrances and inconveniences than the previous BN government to the people in their daily lives.

In the next three years, the Harapan government must solve all problems and inconveniences faced by the people. Hence, making the CEP report public as a means to encourage the general public to debate and reflect on the findings as well as to examine and monitor the progress on reforms made by the government should not be delayed.    

CHIONG YOKE KONG is state assemblyperson for Tanah Rata.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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