Dr M indicates CEP report could be made public but only after govt scrutiny

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at a press conference after officiating the Adly Hotel Chenang in Langkawi March 30, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at a press conference after officiating the Adly Hotel Chenang in Langkawi March 30, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

LANGKAWI, March 30 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today did not deny the possibility that the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) report on Pakatan Harapan government’s first 100-day in power could be released to the public.

However, the government would first have to study the report, the prime minister told reporters when asked about allegations that the government was not being transparent after it decided to place the document under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

“We can’t reveal until decisions are made so we need a bit more time,” Dr Mahathir said after officiating the opening of Adya Hotel Chenang and Silver Jubilee celebration of Permodalan Kedah Berhad here.

Reacting to the claim that the government lacked transparency, he said: “I don’t know what we have not revealed, we have revealed everything.”

The Langkawi MP went on to remind the public of the country’s dire financial situation due to the actions of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“I know the public doesn’t care about what Najib did but in reality, his actions had made it difficult for us to restore the country’s financial situation,” he said.

Dr Mahathir reiterated that Najib had signed contracts that caused the country massive losses and when the current administration cancelled these contracts, they have to pay compensation.

“We can’t give money like how Najib gave money to the people because he was using stolen money and we are not thieves. We don’t steal money. We have to make as much money as possible for the country,” he said.

The CEP was formed after Pakatan Harapan took over the country’s administration in May last year.

It was headed by former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin and comprised industry icons including former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas president and chief executive Tan Sri Hassan Merican, billionaire Robert Kuok,and prominent economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

The council was set up by Dr Mahathir to advise him on socio-economic and financial matters.

The council met with over 350 people from more than 200 organisations and ended on August 19 last year.

Daim and Jomo Kwame have gone on record supporting the call to make the CEP report public but pointed out that it was the prerogative of the prime minister.

The decision to place the report under OSA was met with criticism from all sides, including from Pakatan Harapan leaders.

When asked about the issues discussed in the Cabinet meeting held in Sri Kijang Bank Negara Malaysia here yesterday, Dr Mahathir said what was discussed is a “secret”.

“I can talk a bit about what we talked about such as about LIMA,” he said, referring to the five-day Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2019 (LIMA’19) which ends today.

He said the success of LIMA’19 was discussed especially in terms of the number of exhibitors and trade visitors who attended the event.

“We hope that Langkawi will continue to host LIMA and attract tourists to Malaysia and Langkawi,” he said.

He added that LIMA has also attracted business opportunities and spurred economic development for the island and the country with deals and contracts signed during the exhibition.

He hoped LIMA will continue to attract tourists to Langkawi and spur its economy along with its tourism industry for the benefit of the people.

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