PETALING JAYA: Civil societies, industry bodies and individuals have mixed views on the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP).
Transparency International Malaysia president Datuk Akhbar Satar (pic) was of the view that the CEP should be disbanded.
“The CEP was set up because there was no full Cabinet yet.
“We already have a full quorum now, so there is no longer a need for it,” said Akhbar.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the CEP would not be dissolved as its services were still needed.
This was despite talk that the body would be disbanded on the 100th day of Pakatan Harapan taking over, which was yesterday.
Comprising five illustrious Malaysians – led by chairman Tun Daim Zainuddin, Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Robert Kuok, Tan Sri Hassan Marican and Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram – the CEP was formed on May 12 to advise on economic, financial and other matters.
Akhbar said there was concern over overlaps in authority between the CEP and the Cabinet should the council continue to function.
“With a Cabinet in place, let the Cabinet members advise,” said Akhbar, adding that Pakatan lawmakers were also better equipped in governance as they have already gone through a Parliament sitting after the last general election.
A member of the G25 group of eminent Malays also felt that the CEP should cease functioning.
“There is no necessity because the Cabinet is fully running,” said the G25 member, expressing his views in his personal capacity.
The G25 member disagreed that the CEP was still needed due to Cabinet member inexperience, as many members were seasoned administrators or politicians.
They include Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, a former Penang chief minister and Economics Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, a former Selangor mentri besar.
Others include Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
The G25 member also pointed out some first-time ministers in Dr Mahathir’s line-up are very experienced politicians, such as Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, Transport Minister Anthony Loke and Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.
Representatives from industry bodies, however, wanted to see the council continue to function.
Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said that based on his experience briefing the CEP, the council was very responsive to issues raised by stakeholders.
He said it was very cumbersome for stakeholders to personally meet the Prime Minister or Cabinet members to air their grouses.
“The CEP has the ability to propose solutions to problems directly to the Cabinet and Prime Minister.
“I feel nothing wrong if the CEP continues its mandate after the 100-day mark,” said Shamsuddin.
Malaysian Association of Hotels president Cheah Swee Hee agreed that the CEP should continue as it still had a lot to do.
“They should continue since much what the council looked into has not been implemented,” said Cheah.
He said the CEP was a very good forum which allows industry bodies to engage with the Government.
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