Dr M to chair newly formed Economic Action Council

By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By TMR

Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will chair the newly established 16-member Economic Action Council (EAC), which could steer the country’s future economic direction.

The high-powered council will evaluate and decide on Malaysia’s economic and financial state as well as the people’s welfare.

“The council is formed to act on feedbacks gathered from the people on the issues faced by them, particularly in the economic sector.

“The main objective of the council is to boost and stimulate sustainable economic development, fair wealth distribution and enhance the people’s wellbeing.

“This council will also focus on issues pertaining to the rising cost of living, manpower, poverty and home ownership,” the PM’s Office noted in a statement yesterday.

Members of the EAC include Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Ignatius Darell Leiking and Works Minister Baru Bian.

Economic advisor to the PM Dr Muhammed Abdul Khalid is also part of the council along with former central banker Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former International Trade And Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and economist Prof Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

Corporate giants named in EAC are Public Bank Bhd MD/CEO Tan Sri Tay Ah Lek, Majlis Amanah Rakyat chairman Dr Hasnita Hashim and Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd chairman Datuk Shireen Ann Zaharah Muhiudeen.

Completing the list are Asean Business Advisory Council Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Dr Mohd Munir Abdul Majid, Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations CEO Datuk Dr Paul Selvaraj, lawyer Bah Tony and Institute of MASA board of trustee Nizam Mahshar. The Implementation Coordination Unit under the PM’s Department will act as EAC’s secretariat.

The announcement came nearly two weeks after Dr Mahathir said the government would set up a body similar to the National Economic Action Council to accelerate decision-making on the country’s economic matters.

Commenting on the need for the new body, he had said: “Our coordination is not aligned, because we do not have a specific body to make decision on various new investment-related matters, so they (investors) all approach different ministries.”

The move would allay fears among investors and credit rating agencies over the absence of clarity in Malaysia’s economic directions and reform agenda.