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Rafidah cannot continue to be Minister “on-the-run” whether from media or Cabinet and must recognize that she owes an even higher responsibility to the nation and people than to Cabinet to immediately give full and satisfactory explanation for the APs scandal
(Parliament, Saturday): The Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz cannot continue to be a Minister “on-the-run” whether from the media or the Cabinet.
Even more important, she must recognize that she owes an even higher responsibility to the nation and people than to the Cabinet and that she should immediately give a full and satisfactory explanation for the long-running APs scandal.
For ten days since her return from South Africa with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on 28th July, Rafidah had been playing either “cat-and-mouse” or “dumb and deaf” with the media. Initially she claimed that she needed time to study all the media reports on the issue, as she was overseas when former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mahathir made his comments that she had not told the truth – which had no credibility whatsoever in this era of information technology of instant communication when information travels at the speed of light, as Rafidah would have devoured all the relevant media reports before she landed in Subang from Johannesburg.
Rafidah even skipped the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 3rd August 2005, the fourth consecutive Cabinet meeting she had missed in the past month, although Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had given public notice to her the previous Saturday that she would be asked to explain the APs scandal.
Rafidah subsequently told
Utusan Malaysia that
she was absent from Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting because she was still on
“leave” and that she
After her return from South Africa, she had attended the third Apec Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Conference 2005 and the Asian SME Convention 2005 as Minister and the UMNO Wanita Shah Alam function and the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting as UMNO Wanita leader. Why has Rafidah relegated the Cabinet to a lower priority and importance to all these other functions, when she had been in the eye of the AP storm for over two months?
I understand that Rafidah had never intended to attend the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday but had only wanted to release her 25-page explanation and then to fly off to Perth – but her plan was foiled when Najib and the Cabinet refused to give approval for her 25-page explanation and wanted her to present it to the Cabinet the following Wednesday.
Rafidah must have found it most galling that among those in the Cabinet sitting in judgment over her were not only Ministers very junior to her, but former subordinates like the UMNO Youth leader and Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who started climbing up the political ladder as her Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of International Trade and Industry for 27 months from May 1995 to August 1997.
There is no hiding the fact, however, that Rafidah’s “no show” at the Cabinet on Wednesday, her fourth consecutive Cabinet absence, was high contempt for Najib and her other Ministerial colleagues and an act of gross Ministerial irresponsibility.
Although Rafidah’s “no show” at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting was deplorable, Rafidah should not have been barred from releasing her 25-page explanation, especially as the Prime Minister had repeatedly said that Rafidah was the one to answer all the questions about the APs scandal. If Rafidah’s explanation proved to be an embarrassment to the Cabinet and government, the Cabinet is at liberty to take action including that of censure.
Rafidah cannot continue to be a Minister “on-the-run” whether from media or Cabinet and must recognize that she owes an even higher responsibility to the nation and people than to Cabinet to immediately give full and satisfactory explanation for the APs scandal.
The Cabinet should not insist on having an explanation which is acceptable to both Rafidah and the rest of the Cabinet on the APs issue, which will smack of continued deception of the people.
Rafidah should end her “political leave” to discharge her higher duty to the people and nation to give her explanation of the APs scandal even before the next Cabinet meeting on August 10, which should cover the allegations by Mahathir that Rafidah had failed to prove her claims on four issues:
It is then left to the Cabinet next Wednesday whether to accept or to repudiate and dissociate itself from Rafidah’s 25-page explanation.
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