Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali said the decision to form the Economic Action Council (EAC) is under the prerogative of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said this in response to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim’s exclusion from the 16-member council given that he once held the finance portfolio.

Anwar is also Mahathir’s designated successor.

“This is the prime minister’s decision. I am confident that in the process of discussion to garner input and feedback, we will engage with many stakeholders including youth and business communities.

“This is just a small committee tasked with collecting information from interested parties so that we can hold our first meeting and establish the parameters. From here, we will go to the ground and discuss with those involved,” he added.

Asked if the EAC’s findings would be disclosed to Anwar, the minister replied: “All are involved in the discussion.”

The PKR deputy president was speaking to journalists after attending the Malaysian Hokkien Association’s Chinese New Year celebration in Subang Jaya this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Azmin also reportedly said the EAC is well represented by credible personalities who are experts in their field.

“They have wide experience in many areas and they will continue to engage with stakeholders so we can formulate and draw up immediate and long-term strategies to resolve some of the compelling issues,” he added.

At a separate function earlier, Azmin denied veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin’s claim that the council was formed because Mahathir was not pleased with the performance of his cabinet ministers.

Apart from Mahathir and Azmin, other members of the council are former minister Rafidah Aziz and former Bank Negara chairperson Zeti Akthar Aziz.

The rest are Lim Guan Eng (Finance Minister), Darell Leiking (International Trade and Industry Minister), Baru Bian (Works Minister), Muhammed Abdul Khalid (Economic adviser to the prime minister), Jomo Kwame Sundaram (Council of Eminent Persons member), Tay Ah Lek (Public Bank managing director), Hasnita Hashim (Mara chairperson), Shireen Ann Zaharah Muhiudeen (Bursa Malaysia chairperson), Mohd Munir Abdul Majid (Asean Business Advisory Council, Malaysia chairperson), Paul Selvaraj (Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations chief executive officer) Bah Tony @ Amani William Hunt Abdullah (Lawyer) and Nizam Mahshar (Insitut Masa board of trustee member). — M’kini

Azmin says new council ‘credible’, Anwar’s absence no issue

PETALING JAYA: Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali today brushed aside a question on why his party boss Anwar Ibrahim was not named as part of the Economic Action Council (EAC), saying the appointments were the prerogative of Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“This is the decision of the prime minister,” Azmin, who is also the PKR deputy president, told reporters at a Chinese New Year gathering today.

Azmin, who is also part of the 16-member council, said he felt the current composition was adequate.

“It is a small council to gather input from the stakeholders. Let them hold their first meeting, set the parameters, and we will take it from there.”

Anwar, the PKR president was the finance minister during Mahathir’s first term in the nineties. He has been named the successor to Mahathir under a deal reached by Pakatan Harapan leaders.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister’s Office said the EAC was aimed at stimulating economic growth, equitable distribution of wealth and improving the wellbeing of the people.

Among those in the council are former international trade and industry minister Rafidah Aziz, economist KS Jomo and Public Bank managing director Tay Ah Lek.

Azmin said the members of the council were credible personalities.

“They have vast experience in many areas,” he said. – FMT