Council of Eminent Persons to stay, says PM (Updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) will not be disbanded, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pix) said today.

He dismissed rumours that the CEP will be dissolved by Saturday, which marks the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government's 100th day in power.

“They think they have come to the end. But I haven't decided. I never said so,” he told reporters at the launch of Cardiac Vascular Sentral hospital today.

Mahathir added that he was not sure how long their services would be needed as he is unable to do such work by himself.

“I still need their services. I don't know for how long until we have solved many of the problems. I myself cannot do that kind of work,” he added.

Tun Daim Zainuddin who leads the CEP, defended the council amidst criticism that they have been acting as the de-facto government.

Besides Daim, the other council members are Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Tan Sri Hassan Marican, Robert Kuok and Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

Meanwhile, when the prime minister was asked about fulfilling the promises made in Pakatan Harapan's manifesto, he replied that he was uncertain if all the promises made could be fulfilled in five years.

“Even within five years I am not so sure. But I think most of the problems will be resolved within that period,” he answered with a wry smile.

Mahathir explained that the manifesto was written on the basis of what Pakatan Harapan knew of the government then.

“But when we took over we found that the situation was much worse. Much more money was borrowed and the machinery of the government was subverted,” he said.

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“We find ourselves working in an environment that is not really dedicated to what we want. We needed to remove people. All these things hinder the progress.

“While we have a promise that we can do things in 100 days, the most we could do is start those things. But it will take a little more time for us to complete and fulfill our promises,” he said.