KUALA LUMPUR: It is not wrong for the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) chairman Tun Daim Zainuddin to make a diplomatic trip to China, said Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
"In my view, there is nothing wrong in sending a special envoy.
"In this context, Tun Daim was sent to China with very specific terms of reference and (he) directly reports to the Prime Minister," Saifuddin told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby on Wednesday (July 25).
He said this in reference to questions raised about the authority by Daim on his recent trip to China.
Prior to his visit, Wisma Putra had a meeting with Daim and the latter had also shared reports of his visit in China with the Foreign Ministry.
"As I said, Daim reports directly to the Prime Minister. We will wait for the updates.
"What is important is the ties between both countries. We want to continue to foster good relations and ties, if possible, we want better ties with China," he added.
When pressed on why Daim was sent instead of officials from the Foreign Ministry, Saifuddin said that there were many ways of dealing with "our foreign friends."
"Sometimes, we send the Foreign Minister, sometimes we send the Finance Minister, sometimes it is the Economic Affairs Minister, so it depends on the situation.
"It is a case by case thing," he added.
After being sworn in as premier on May 10, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced the advisory council immediately, stating that it was needed to stabilise a government of inexperienced leaders.
Headed by former finance minister Daim, the CEP also includes former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas CEO Tan Sri Hassan Marican, renowned economist Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram and business tycoon Robert Kuok.
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