PETALING JAYA: The Council of Eminent Persons backs the release of its report to the public, although chairman Daim Zainuddin admits he does not have the final say on the matter.
“I was asked to chair the meetings and get the information, facts, analyse and make the recommendations. That is my role and I shouldn’t go beyond that,” the former finance minister told The Star.
Daim said he would like to share the report, which contains recommendations by the council, so it could be debated.
He said that feedback from the rakyat was vital as the council – set up to advise the government during the initial stage of its formation – was meant to resolve their problems.
“But there is information in the report that rightly is under the Official Secrets Act (OSA),” the daily quoted him as saying.
Two days ago, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin told the Dewan Rakyat that the report would remain under the OSA as it contains confidential information.
The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), a think tank, voiced concern over the government’s announcement, arguing that the CEP’s findings should have been made public from the start.
Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali also said that the report was not a matter of national security.
But Daim said the report was prepared for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and that they had briefed him about it.
“In the end, it is up to the government (to release the CEP report),” The Star reported him as saying.
Fellow CEP member, economist KS Jomo, who previously said that the report should not be made public as it contained “sensitive information that could be abused”, has since changed his stance on the matter.
“My earlier concerns were because of legally or diplomatically sensitive matters, which are not there anymore,” he was quoted as saying.