Ending CEP means going back to the rightful system, says Najib

Najib Razak says CEP members are unelected and not subject to an oath of office.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak has welcomed the announcement by the government’s top advisory council that it had met for the last time yesterday, saying the formation of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) was not in line with the Malaysian constitution in the first place.

Speaking to FMT during an interview at his private residence here, Najib said he hoped that with the CEP headed by former finance minister Daim Zainuddin coming to an end, the powers of the Cabinet could be restored.

“They are coming back to a system of government that has been provided under the constitution,” said Najib. “That’s the way we should govern the country based on the constitution.”

Daim, who heads the five-member CEP, today said the council’s 100-day mandate ended yesterday and that it was now preparing a report on its work in the last three months.

The other four members of the council, formed by Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the wake of Pakatan Harapan’s victory in the May polls, are former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas CEO Hassan Marican, tycoon Robert Kuok and economist KS Jomo.

The council has come under scrutiny from both government and opposition MPs, many of whom question its jurisdiction.

Najib said Malaysia’s system of governance gives the ultimate authority to the Cabinet who are made up of elected representatives.

“The Council of Eminent Persons, their members are not elected, and they have not taken an oath of office in terms of having access to government secrets and so forth. That is part and parcel of being a Cabinet minister,” he said.