BEIJING (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The services of Malaysia's Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) are still needed, and Tun Daim Zainuddin will continue to head the advisory group, said Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday (Aug 21) before ending his five-day visit to China, Tun Dr Mahathir said he had not given the CEP a 100-day timeframe, adding that he still has a dire need for its services.
"I never mentioned anything (about) 100 days; I want him (CEP chairman Mr Daim) to be there," he said when asked to comment on Mr Daim's statement that the council's 100-day mandate is officially over.
On Monday, Mr Daim had announced the council's last day was on Sunday and everyone in the council had gone back to their respective jobs.
"As far as we are concerned, we have completed our task. The mandate is over."
"Including the secretariat, we are all volunteers," Mr Daim said, declining to comment whether the council has been disbanded.
He added that he will make an appointment with Dr Mahathir on his return from China to see what role he has in mind for the council.
The CEP was set up on May 12, three days after the Pakatan Harapan pact toppled the Barisan Nasional government.
Its primary role was to advise the new government on economic and financial matters, and help it achieve PH's 100-day election promises. Dr Mahathir has said that the council would continue to function beyond the 100 days to help him manage the government.
Besides Mr Daim, the other council elders are former central bank governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former CEO of state oil company Petronas Hassan Marican, Hong Kong-based Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok and economics expert Jomo Kwame Sundaram.