PM: Economic Council not new idea

PPBM chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya, February 12, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
PPBM chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya, February 12, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 12 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has dismissed claims that the federal government’s move to set up the high-powered Economic Action Council (EAC) showed a lack of confidence in the Cabinet.

He said he had made a similar move when he was prime minister the first time, as he said it was important to listen to the views of the people as well.

“Last time I was PM, I had also set up a similar council, but I didn’t do it immediately after I became PM.

“We always want to listen to the views of the people. Any government that doesn’t want to listen to the people and only depend on the Cabinet, even if they are made up of brilliant people, that government will go wrong,” he told a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation here today.

Dr Mahathir said Pakatan Harapan had intended to set up the council earlier but said “we were very busy.”

“Now we have enough time to set up the council and will use (it) to get feedback on what is happening in the country and get ideas to solve the problems,” he said.

Dr Mahathir added that the council will be focusing on economic matters.

“We are having problems because of the behaviour of the last government we are occupied trying to resolve the loans taken that we didn’t have the time to see investors and others,” he said.

Earlier today, former chief editor of the New Straits Times Group Datuk A. Kadir Jasin said Putrajaya’s move to convene a new Economic Action Council shows Dr Mahathir’s considers his administration’s machinery ineffectual in handling key issues.

This is after the PMO announcing the formation of the council yesterday, comprising ministers and business leaders to tackle the economy and arrest the rising cost of living.