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Cabinet tomorrow must censure Rafidah if she cannot give satisfactory explanation as to why there had been a triple jump in the issuance of APs from 20,000 in 2003 to over 60,000 in 2004 and 2005
(Parliament, Tuesday): The meeting between the Backbenchers Club (BBC) delegation and former Prime Minister and Proton Adviser Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad yesterday over the APs controversy produced one vital information which urgently called for immediate clarification and justification by the Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz, viz: the sudden jump of APs issued from 20,000 in 2003 to over 60,000 in 2004 and 2005.
The Cabinet tomorrow must find out the reason why MITI had suddenly tripled the issuance of APs from 20,000 in 2003 to over 60,000 in 2004 and 2005. If Rafidah continues to be recalcitrant and refuses to be accountable and transparent to the public over her Ministerial responsibilities, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who would be chairing the Cabinet meeting in the absence of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, should give the explanation in a post-Cabinet media conference.
If Rafidah cannot give a satisfactory explanation as to why there had been a triple jump in the issuance of APs from 20,000 in 2003 to over 60,000 in 2004 and 2005, the Cabinet should censure the Minister for International Trade and Industry.
Rafidah “running from the media” since her return from South Africa last Thursday is no way for her to discharge her MITI Ministerial responsibilities or to be a model Minister of the Abdullah administration which is committed to accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance.
Rafidah must be reminded of her statement on the eve of the UMNO General Assembly last month that she was prepared for attacks from anyone at the assembly on the APs issue, when she said:
“Of course I am prepared. We are a responsible Government and I am a responsible minister. There is nothing to hide.”
Declaring that she would “answer exactly as it is” anyone who raised the issue, she said: “It does not matter because when you have the facts in your hand, when you are right, what does it matter?
“When they raise it, very good. It will give me the opportunity to explain.” (New Straits Times 19.7.05)
Rafidah’s confident and even arrogant reply had reinforced her claim that she was the one who had been “wronged” in the APs controversy.
However, since her return from South Africa last Thursday, Rafidah has been acting as if she has something to hide, making daily news with her running from the press and evading the multitudinous questions which have cropped up over the APs controversy.
The Cabinet tomorrow should take over the role which the media had not been able to play in the past week, which is to get to the bottom of the APs scandal and to get Rafidah to explain the many contradictions and new queries which have surfaced over her various explanations about the APs scandal.
Apart from the triple jump in the issuance of APs from 2003 to 2004 and 2005, other matters awaiting Rafidah’s elucidation include:
The Cabinet should direct Rafidah to give full and satisfactory response to all these questions in a “Tell All” media conference. If Rafidah remains stubborn and recalcitrant in refusing to do so, the Cabinet should appoint another Minister to publicly answer these questions whether from the press, MPs or the general public so that the pledge by Abdullah on accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance will not be reduced into an utter mockery by the UMNO Wanita leader.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman