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Remove the haze on the APs issue - Abdullah should clarify whether Cabinet had imposed a clampdown including in Parliament on all questions about accountability, transparency and integrity concerning issuance of APs in the past 18 years
(Parliament, Monday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should remove the haze on the APs issue and clarify whether the Cabinet last week had imposed a clampdown including in Parliament on all questions about accountability, transparency and integrity concerning the issuance of APs in the past 18 years although the Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz has been stripped of the APs responsibility.
The Prime Minister and the Cabinet have the powers to strip Rafidah of two strategic functions of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, i.e. the drafting of the National Automotive Policy and the review of the issuance of APs, but they cannot impose a blanket ban on all public discussion and demand for accountability for her mishandling of the AP issue for the past 18 years – which would be unfair to both the Malaysian public as well as to Rafidah herself.
Such a clampdown run in direct counter to the pledge by Abdullah to lead an administration which is people-oriented, clean, incorruptible, accountable and trustworthy as well as setting the most undesirable precedent of granting Rafidah immunity and impunity from any abuses and excesses of ministerial power. Will this be the fourth time Rafidah is to be “saved” by a serving Prime Minister?
Are Members of Parliament, whether government or opposition, now barred from demanding for answers and accountability from Rafidah for her 18-year responsibility over the APs issue when Parliament reconvenes for the 2006 budget session on September 19?
If the Cabinet had imposed such a clampdown last week, it should be removed on Wednesday as Rafidah should neither be denied the right to defend herself, including making public her 29-page explanation, nor provided with immunity and impunity from accountability and transparency for her 18-year AP responsibility.
Backbenchers Club Chairman Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad has called for
Rafidah’s resignation as Minister for International Trade and Industry
for commenting last Friday on the AP issue despite a cabinet “gag” on her.
Shahrir said Rafidah should quit if she finds it hard to respect the
cabinet’s decision not to comment on the issue of AP and that she “should
stop making a fool of herself by talking about matters which are no longer
under her ministry”.
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