Tun M's Council Of Elders Get Down To Business Within Hours Of Being Formed
On Saturday, 12 May, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir named a 'Council of Elders', also called Team of Eminent Persons, to advise the new Pakatan Harapan Government for the first 100 days
Tun Dr Mahathir's Team of Eminent Persons comprises of a total of five people.
They are Tun Daim Zainuddin, who is the former finance minister, Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the former governor of Bank Negara, Tan Sri Hassan Marican, who is the former CEO of Petronas, billionaire tycoon Tan Sri Robert Kuok, and Jomo Kwame Sundaram, an eminent economist Professor.
Together, the Council of Elders will not only advise the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) Government but will also review the business dealings of 1MDB among others.
The Council is headed by Tun Daim
"This council will help the government shape policies and programmes in order to fulfil Pakatan Harapan's 100-day-promise to the rakyat.
"This council will only be around for 100 days," Tun Dr Mahathir said at a press conference at Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia's headquarters yesterday.
As soon as the formation was announced, the newly set up Council wasted no time and had its first meeting that night itself
On Saturday itself, barely hours into its formation, the five-member Council convened their first meeting which went late into the night, according to Bernama.
Billionaire tycoon Tan Sri Robert Kuok was the only Elder who couldn't join the Council's first meeting as he is currently overseas.
While one would have thought that after the unprecedented victory in GE14, the Pakatan Harapan Government might want to go slow into things, the Team of Eminent Persons means business, as they feel there shouldn't be any honeymoon period.
In the prolonged meeting yesterday, which was chaired by former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, the Council was briefed and deliberated on several current economic situations such as the national debt, the ringgit, GST and fuel subsidies.
Tun Daim, while speaking to Bernama after the meeting, said that they will be making the recommendations to the government
He also said that the Council would be calling the Public Private Partnership Unit (under the PM's Department), related ministries and government-linked companies to brief them on various mega projects and the governance of GLCs, including Lembaga Tabung Haji, Majlis Amanah Rakyat and the Federal Land Development Authority.
"As for 1MDB, there will be a special task force, I have identified those who can assist the probe into 1MDB. It would be under the purview of the Team which will submit the report to the government," Tun Daim was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Tun Daim has also given the assurance to investors and fund managers that they are going to address all the problems affecting the Malaysian economy and are not going to increase the debts
"There is no reason to put the economy into a state that is much worse (than before)," he said while responding to a question about jitters being felt by investors over the impact on the ringgit and stock market following Barisan Nasional's shocking departure from the federal government for the first time in six decades.
Although investors are more concerned about the proposed removal of GST, Daim said that they will not increase the debt anymore.
"We are not stupid. This is a lot of speculation, unnecessary fear. This is a normal reaction when a new government takes over," he said, according to Bernama.
"For 57 years there was no GST and there was no problem," the former finance minister pointed out while stressing that the important thing is to get rid of corruption.
According to Tun Daim, the oversupply of office space and housing was another pertinent issue that needed to be addressed quickly
"Another example is the cost of security for schools. It cost more than the assets they are guarding," Bernama quoted him as saying after the meeting.
According to Daim, the Council of Elders would hold meetings daily for 100 days, and, in fact, on some days, it would be a few times a day. Why daily meetings?
"I want to finish this within 100 days. After that, I want to sleep," Tun Daim quipped.