KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Daim Zainuddin says he is lucky that he escaped a heart attack after having encountered so many abuses of the previous government.
The Chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP), who completed the body's 100-day mandate, said that none of his other members thought the problems would be so widespread and systematic.
"Although the board became aware of the weak points in the financial situation and the level of poor governance in the (former) government and agencies, we did not expect the scale and severity of the problems to be so serious.
"We are disappointed that those who are entrusted to protect the nation abandon us.
"There are so many shocking things, luckily I did not have a heart attack," he said yesterday at a press conference in Menara Ilham.
The CEP was established on May 12th to help shape policies and programs to reach Pakatan Harapan's hundreds of days' promises and to advise the government on economic and financial matters.
Besides Daim, the other members were the former governor of Bank Negara, Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas CEO Tan Sri Hassan Marican, the Hong Kong-based Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok and economics expert Prof. Jomo Kwame Sundaram.
The secretariat of the CEP was led by economist dr. Muhammed Abdul Khalid.
There are also two committees under the CEP: the Institutional Reforms Committee and the 1MDB Committee.
A report on the recommendations of the council will be handed to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad after his return from China.
Daim, a former Minister of Finance, said that the first part of the recommendations was about governance and institutional reform.
"We are also fully aware that economic reforms alone can not lead to desired changes unless they are accompanied by institutional reforms," he said.
He said the report would have measures to strengthen the independence of the central institutions of Malaysia and improve their governance framework to end widespread corruption and abuse of power, and would also look at the bumiputra agenda.
He said that there was an absolute need to maintain the integrity and regulatory framework of the country to ensure that high, non-profit mega projects and financial scandals such as 1MDB do not return.
"As far as we are concerned, we have completed our task, we have completed our 100 days and everyone has gone back to their respective jobs, including the secretariat, we are all volunteers," he said.
"When he (Dr. Mahathir) comes back, I will make an appointment to visit him and consult him on what role he has in mind (for the CEP)."
On Thursday, Dr Mahathir said that the CEP would not be dissolved despite the termination of his mandate.
While he hoped the recommendations would be made public, Daim said that this was the prime minister's privilege.
He also laughed at allegations that he was involved in a conspiracy to prevent Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim becoming the next prime minister.
Daim referred to a report in The Star Online in which Anwar was quoted as saying that there was no basis to connect Dr. Mahathir, PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and him with such a plot.
Asked if he was concerned about who would become the next prime minister, Daim said that Pakatan Harapan had long since decided that it would be Anwar.