Four prominent businessmen named to economic council

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin chaired the first meeting of the Economic Action Council today. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Four businessmen have been named to the government’s Economic Action Council which will work to deal with economic problems caused by the Covid-19 outbreak and plummeting oil prices.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin heads the council’s supreme committee which includes three ministers, and the Governor of Bank Negara, and business persons.

The ministers are: senior minister Mohamed Azmin Ali (international trade and industry); Tengku Zafrul Aziz (finance); Mustapa Mohamed (economic affairs). They are joined by Bank Negara governor, Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus.

Others on the committee are media owner Tong Kooi Ong (The Edge Media Group); Jeffrey Cheah (Sunway Group founder); G. Gnanalingam (Westports executive chairman); Jamaludin Ibrahim (Celcom Axia chairman); and Dr Jemilah Mahmood (founder of Mercy Malaysia).

The EAC’s executive chairman is Noor Azlan Ghazali, an economist and former vice-chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. He heads a joint secretariat formed by the finance ministry, Economic Planning Unit and the Prime Minister’s Department.

Muhyiddin said the council will meet weekly to discuss the issues and seek solutions. It would be helped by a technical committee, which would prepare daily reports on the global and domestic economy.

The committee would comprise representatives of the finance ministry, Economic Planning Unit, the Prime Minister’s Department, Bank Negara, and the Statistics Department.
Several working groups were set up to to monitor key sectors such as tourism, the labour market, small and medium enterprises, construction, and the retail and food industry.

Each working group will be led jointly by the government and the private sector, Muhyiddin said.

He said that work would begin next month on RM2 billion worth of small projects announced in the 2020 Economic Stimulus Package.

Progress will be monitored by the Chief Secretary, Mohd Zuki Ali, and a weekly report submitted to the prime minister. The projects will focus on rural infrastructure development. They will be carried out by small Bumiputera contractors.”

The government would continue with all projects allocated in the 2020 Budget, including the East Coast Rail Link, Mass Rail Transit 2, and the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan.

“The EAC will be assisted by an officers level committee, a technical committee and several working groups. The Prime Minister will chair the highest level committee,” Muhyiddin said.

The finance ministry, the Economic Planning Unit and the Prime Minister’s Department would form the EAC’s joint secretariat to coordinate relevant discussions and to monitor decisions made by the council.