Political analysts say Ismail Sabri Yaakob cannot lay the blame on the National Recovery Council (MPN) for the government's failure to manage the economy, following a tit for tat between the prime minister and MPN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin.
Speaking to MalaysiaNow, they said the council's job was only to advise the government, and that it had no authority to make any decisions on its own.
Ahmad Atory Hussain of Universiti Sains Malaysia said it was up to the government whether to implement the council's suggestions or not.
Likewise, MPN has no power to direct any party to carry out proposals, policies or projects, he said.
"It is not fair to blame MPN as the council is only responsible for coming up with recommendations.
"The problem would be if these proposals look good but cannot be carried out, resulting in failure, or if the minister in question does not agree with the suggestions and decides in secret not to carry them out."
Muhyiddin, who is Perikatan Nasional chairman, had questioned Ismail's management of the country, suggesting that it might be better to hold the widely expected election to allow the people to choose a new government.
Citing the economic challenges and the ringgit fall, he said Ismail did not appear to be taking such matters seriously despite the suggestions raised by the MPN.
"I have not yet reached the level of wanting to urge the prime minister to dissolve Parliament," he said.
"But I, too, am thinking – if the prime minister continues to fail to manage the economy and the country well, it would be good to hold an election so that a new government that is more efficient, caring and free from corruption can be elected by the people."
Ismail responded by describing the situation as a shared responsibility.
"In terms of the economy, I have Mustapa (Mohamed) with me to manage it, and we also have the National Recovery Council chaired by Muhyiddin himself. So, this is a shared responsibility... if it fails, it means that we all failed, even MPN," he said.
Oh Ei Sun from Singapore's Institute of International Affairs said Muhyiddin should have laid out his criticism in detail so that the government's true weaknesses could be accurately shown.
He said Muhyiddin, a former prime minister himself, should also show which MPN proposals had been rejected by the government.
"That way, he could, at the same time, raise his political position to one higher than that of Ismail," he added.
Oh said Muhyiddin's comments would add to the pressure on Ismail to speed up the holding of GE15.
Nevertheless, he said Muhyiddin had no concrete reason to push Ismail in this regard, as is being done by Umno leaders.
Atory meanwhile said that Muhyiddin had not actually brought up the issue of the GE15 date.
"It is up to the prime minister whether to call an election, but Ismail also needs to refer to PN given that this is a mixed government," he said.