New economic council

Azmin defends Cabinet's performance

PETALING JAYA • Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali yesterday denied allegations that the country's new Economic Action Council (EAC) was created because Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was dissatisfied with the Cabinet's performance.

"This is not true at all... In Pakatan Harapan, we work collectively, even Cabinet decisions are done collectively with all ministers," said Datuk Seri Azmin.

"This council is made up of experts with their respective specialities, they have good reputation in society and their input is important for us and we will use this to decide on actions to be taken."

Mr Azmin said Tun Dr Mahathir wanted to create a council that was action-oriented to plan effective strategies for long-and medium-term policies.

"Among the main goals are to address the well-being of the people, the high cost of living, and the increasing cost of goods," he added.

Dr Mahathir announced on Monday the formation of the 16-member EAC comprising himself, ministers and business leaders to examine and decide on economic and financial affairs and the people's welfare.

However, Dr Mahathir's confidant, Datuk A. Kadir Jasin, wrote on his blog yesterday morning that the EAC was convened because the Prime Minister realised that his administration's machinery, especially the Cabinet, is unable to handle such matters.

"We don't need to pretend merely to protect the feelings of anyone... The reality is that after eight months governing the country, the Pakatan Harapan administration has not produced any tangible results for the public," Mr Kadir wrote on his blog.

Dr Mahathir clarified yesterday that the council was set up to allow the government to listen to different views.

"When I was the prime minister the last time, I also set up a similar council, but I didn't do it immediately," he said, referring to his first stint as PM from 1981 to 2003. "The Cabinet then had given me full cooperation, but I still set up the council because I wanted to listen to other views on how to manage the economy.

"Any government that doesn't want to listen to views from outsiders would go wrong, even if Cabinet is made up of brilliant people," he said at a press conference yesterday.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2019, with the headline 'Azmin defends Cabinet's performance'. Print Edition | Subscribe