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Rafidah must publicly reply to all the issues which had been raised by Mahathir pertaining to Proton and the government’s automotive policy, as they had been raised publicly and are matters of public interest concerning 26 million Malaysians and not private matters between the two
Media Statement (2)
(Parliament, Thursday): The Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz must publicly reply to all the issues which had been raised by former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad pertaining to Proton and the government’s automotive policy, as they had been raised publicly and are matters of public interest concerning 26 million Malaysians and not private matters between the two.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who revealed that the Cabinet at its meeting yesterday had directed Rafidah to write a letter to Dr Mahathir to reply to all the issues raised by the Proton advisor should ensure that the Minister for International Trade and Industry also comply with the basic rules of accountability, transparency and good governance by making her reply available to all Members of Parliament and the Malaysian public.
It is not only Dr. Mahathir but the 26 million Malaysian people who also have the right to know what is Rafidah’s answer to the unhealthy and undesirable concentration of Approved Permits (AP) on only a few companies. Out of the 67,000 APs issued last year, only 12,600 were given to 82 companies while 20 companies received 54,400, and Dr. Mahathir is right in pointing out that this was not in the spirit of nurturing Bumiputera entrepreneurship.
Furthermore, there are in circulation rumours of favoured individuals who have full control of the dispensation of four, five or even six hundred APs, which if true, will become a fertile source of abuse of power and even corruption – and the best way to scotch such rumours or expose such abuses of power is full transparency of the AP beneficiaries.
But the problem of APs may be more serious than just 67,000 APs last year, as Dr. Mahathir had said at the end of May that “people in the automotive industry had told him that parallel imports of cars could be three times more than those brought in by approved agents” – which would mean a total import of APs and “phantom APs” in the region 250,000 vehicles last year.
This was one reason why Dr. Mahathir, who has belatedly become the strongest advocate for transparency in calling for the publication of “all the names of the people who get the AP, how many they have received and whose plants are assembling what cars”, has received such wide national support, both from his erstwhile friends and foes.
I call on Abdullah to review the government decision not to reveal the names of all the AP holders, to avoid the great irony where a Prime Minister who had raised such high hopes because of his pledge to clean up corruption and abuses of power opposes transparency in make public all the names of those who have been given APs while his predecessor as Prime Minister has taken a stand for making public the identities of all the AP beneficiaries.
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