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Rafidah’s days as MITI
Minister numbered - she has acted most irresponsibily in going on sudden
“vacation leave” when she should be in Parliament to give a full
Ministerial statement on the many questions raised by Mahathir on Proton,
APs and the national automotive policy
(Parliament, Friday): The reactions of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz yesterday to the swirling Proton and APs controversy are distinctly different, reflecting different priorities and agendas.
Rafidah said in Ipoh that she had prepared a letter for Proton adviser Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on the issue of approved permits (APs) for imported cars and considered the case closed.
She said: “I do not want to comment on the contents of the letter. It is enough that I have explained the whole situation to the Cabinet and Tun. Having done so, I consider the case closed.
“I showed the letter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak first and they have endorsed my letter. I have told my private secretary to deliver the letter to Tun.”
The picture that the whole Proton and APs controversy is a “case closed” is not conveyed by the Prime Minister’s comments on the issue yesterday, as they indicate the issues very open and alive, as Abdullah said the Cabinet on Wednesday had asked Rafidah “a lot of questions” and that she would give further information to the Cabinet.
In these circumstances, it is most extraordinary that Rafidah has suddenly gone on “leave” and “vacation” – when she should be returning to the Cabinet with the answers to the many questions raised by Cabinet Ministers on Wednesday!
Furthermore, how could any Cabinet Minister be allowed to go on “vacation leave” when Parliament is in session, showing utter contempt for Parliament as well as committing a gross dereliction of Ministerial responsibility - when the first duty of a responsible Cabinet Minister when Parliament is in session is to perform his or her parliamentary duty to account to MPs for the performance, actions and decisions of his or her Ministry!
In going on sudden “vacation leave” in such circumstances, Rafidah has only herself to blame in creating the impression that she is absconding from her Ministerial duties in Cabinet and Parliament – in particular her elementary duty to appear in Parliament to give a full Ministerial statement to explain to MPs and the country the many questions raised by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad about Proton, APs and the national automotive policy.
How long will Rafidah be away on her sudden “vacation leave”? Did she inform the Prime Minister and the Cabinet on Wednesday that she will not be able to give the answers to the many questions raised in the Cabinet meeting as she would be going on “vacation leave”? Has Rafidah applied for leave from Parliament from the Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah?
Who will be the Acting Minister for International Trade and Industry during Rafidah’s “vacation leave”? Will the Acting Minister for International Trade and Industry come to Parliament on Monday to give a Ministerial statement on Proton, APs and the national automotive policy to perform the parliamentary duty which should have been discharged by Rafidah? Or is the Acting Minister for International Trade and Industry a mere dummy?
One thing seems clear - the days of Rafidah as the Minister for International Trade and Industry or Cabinet Minister are numbered.