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Commission of Inquiry into the entire APs system – whether it had contributed to greater competitiveness of Malaysian industries and its abuses, whether benefiting primarily handful of people at the expense of the many
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz won thunderous applause at the Malaysian Associated Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) trade seminar yesterday when she called for the abolition of the entire AP system, as Malaysia is the only country in the world with an AP system which goes against the World Trade Organisation.
Nobody would accuse the hundreds of participants of the MAICCI seminar of siding the besieged Minister against the press, the rest of the Cabinet and the nation on the unresolved long-running APs saga, but there is no doubt that her sudden support for the abolition of the APs system had struck a chord of wide national support – although it came only after the APs portfolio was removed from her after 18 years in charge of its allocation as Minister for International Trade and Industry.
It would have been better for the country if instead of expressing her personal opinion after the APs portfolio was removed from her, she had used her 18 years as Minister for International Trade and Industry to propose to the Cabinet a system to phase out completely the APs system, whether for cars, steel or other imports, so that Malaysian industries can be more competitive and Malaysian consumers do not have to suffer for two decades paying more for cars which are comparatively of lower quality than in other countries.
It would be most unfortunate if the circumstances in which Rafidah suddenly made the call for the abolition of the entire APs system resulted in the dismissal of this proposal by the Cabinet and government, for it must be seriously considered on its merits without being complicated by the Rafidah factor.
For this reason, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should set up a commission of inquiry to study into the operations of the APs system, its merits and demerits, whether it had contributed to greater competitiveness for Malaysian industries as well as its abuses, whether it had largely benefited only a handful of people at the expense of the Malaysian public.
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