Daim has been going to China since the 80s, says Kadir

(FMT) – PPBM Supreme Council member A Kadir Jasin has come to the defence of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) amid criticism that it is calling the shots in the government’s decision-making process.

Kadir, who quit as the council’s spokesman last month, also said there was no difference between the five-member CEP and Cabinet members.

“The suggestion that there is a contest for power and differences of opinion between the government and the CEP is the work of the ignorant and the foul-minded,” the former top editor of the New Straits Times Press wrote on his blog today.

Kadir resigned as the CEP’s communications chief in June after posting comments seen as critical of the Malay rulers. 

He said the council’s main task was to collect information on the activities of government-linked companies (GLC) and other government agencies during Najib Razak’s administration, before presenting its findings to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Earlier, CEP chairman Daim Zainuddin defended his colleagues in the council, saying they were doing “voluntary national service” and would return to their normal jobs after submitting their report to the prime minister.

Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders have criticised the council, formed days after Pakatan Harapan’s election victory in May, saying it is undermining the Cabinet.

This was after Daim met top Chinese officials ahead of Mahathir’s visit to Beijing next month.

Kadir today also wrote that there was nothing unusual about Daim’s trip to China, saying the former finance minister had in the past been sent as Mahathir’s special envoy all over the world.

He said Daim represented the government in 1981 to negotiate with the US on tin, and to the UK over the “Buy British Last” campaign.

“Only those who are new in politics and the media or don’t read will question why the prime minister sent Daim to China. Daim himself is a familiar face in Beijing.”

Kadir also questioned Khairy Jamuluddin, saying the former Umno leader was stating the obvious when he said CEP members were not elected.

“Everybody knows that. If they were elected, they would be in the Parliament answering KJ,” he said.

He also urged Khairy to apologise for claiming that Daim had put pressure on Raus Sharif to resign as the chief justice.