KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 — The prime minister’s decision to retain the Council of Eminent Persons is not indication that his ministers were ineffectual, said Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
The economic affairs minister said it was simply Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s prerogative to keep the quasi-official advisory council beyond the previously stated 100 days.
Azmin argued instead that the present Cabinet was “very strong” and the PM’s choice was simply a matter of necessity.
“He (Dr Mahathir) has made it clear he needs more time as there were many issues (already there) when we came into Putrajaya,” he said in reference to the administrative capital.
“As there are many issues, the prime minister needs more time to study those reports (presented by the CEP),” he said.
Dr Mahathir said today the CEP will continue its efforts to advise him and the government.
Azmin also stressed on the role on CEP, which does not include powers to prosecute but to only make suggestions to the government.
When questioned on the need for the CEP considering the government now has a full Cabinet, Azmin replied saying the responsibility of CEP was specific in assisting the government.
“They are not there to make any decisions. They are just putting up recommendations based on proposals received by various parties and concerned citizens.
“We need someone to look at it and put up the recommendations,” he explained.
He added it was not a confirmed fact that every recommendation made by the CEP would be acted upon.
“It is not necessary we agree with those recommendations.
“The recommendations will come back to the cabinet for us to deliberate and discuss,” he added.