KUALA LUMPUR: The decision to maintain the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) does not mean that the Cabinet is ineffective, says Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
In defending the move to extend the CEP's tenure, Azmin said it was clear that its role was mainly to assist in giving recommendations to the government.
"I think the Prime Minister has made it clear that the CEP’s role is to go through some of the major reports which will be presented to the government.
"Clearly, the reports will come back to the Cabinet for us to deliberate on and discuss.
"The Cabinet is very effective," he told reporters at the parliament lobby on Thursday (Aug 16).
Earlier, it was reported that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said that the CEP’s services were still required and that it would not be dissolved this weekend, as reported by news media and blogs.
Azmin was responding to criticism that the extension of the term for the CEP meant that the Cabinet was ineffective.
Asked why the CEP was still needed beyond 100 days, Azmin said the Prime Minister needed more time to address the issues the country faced since taking over Putrajaya.
"Well, they do not make the decisions.
"You must know the rule of the CEP. They are putting up recommendations based on the proposals made by various parties, so we need someone to look at and study it," said Azmin.
The CEP was announced by Dr Mahathir on May 12 and tasked with advising the new Pakatan government on economic and financial matters during the transition of power from the Barisan Nasional government.
The council is headed by former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin.
Other members include former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former president and CEO of Petronas Tan Sri Hassan Merican, billionaire Tan Sri Robert Kuok and prominent economist Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram.
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