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A national opinion poll will show that Rafidah failed not only to satisfy UMNO delegates but the Malaysian public about the long-running APs scandal in her UMNO General Assembly winding-up speech yesterday
(Penang, Sunday): The Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz, was booed and heckled throughout her 30-minute winding-up speech at the UMNO General Assembly yesterday in her attempt to lay the long-running APs scandal to rest – testimony that UMNO delegates were not satisfied with the explanation of the UMNO Wanita chief, which was telecast nation-wide.
When asked by the media about the booing and heckling by UMNO delegates during her speech, she said: “I don’t care.” She said she was not only trying to explain to the UMNO delegates in the hall, but more important, to the Malaysian public in the cities, towns and villages, and even foreigners.
A national opinion poll will show, however, that Rafidah failed not only to satisfy UMNO delegates but also the Malaysian public about the long-running APs scandal in her speech yesterday.
This was because Rafidah had not only failed to give a full and satisfactory explanation about the APs scandal, she acted most irresponsibly in dodging the controversy of APs, Proton and the national car industry, seeking to “pass the buck” to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who did not take the up the bait.
In her reply, Rafidah maintained that there was nothing wrong with the issue of the APs, although this was in open contradiction to Abdullah’s interview with Mingguan Malaysia last Sunday admitting to abuses, when he pledged to take action on the APs question, “as there were parties which should not have received the APs but were given them and also those who received more APs than they deserved”.
Rafidah also failed the new test of accountability and transparency in the Abdullah premiership, in not emulating the example set by the Prime Minister who directed the release of the 2005 list of 67,158 APs by making public the full list of APs issued during her 18 years as Minister for International Trade and Industry since 1987.
In the 2005 APs list, the four “APs King of Kings” of Tan Sri Nasimuddin SM Amin, Datuk Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim, Datuk Mohd Haniff Abdul Aziz and Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad took 42.1% or 28,283 of the 67,158 APs.
One of the four “AP King of Kings”, Azzuddin, has denied that he has even a single AP, although his name was listed together with Syed Azman and Mohd Haniff under Weststar Motorsport Sdn. Bhd which was allocated 7,603 APs to import Honda cars from Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Japan. How has Azzuddin’s name appeared in the past four years in MITI records as one of the four “APs King of Kings”? Rafidah’s silence on Azzuddin’s denial is not a good example of her accountability and transparency.
Nasimuddin was issued 12,524 APs for 2005 – 9,412 Franchise APs through five companies, three of which went as far back as eight years ago in 1997, and 3,112 Open APs through Naza Konsortium Sdn Bhd. UMNO delegates and the Malaysian public are entitled to know how many Open APs had been issued to Naza in the past 17 years since 1988 and the total number of Franchise APs in the past eight years since 1997. Rafidah’s silence on these matters are again adverse reflections on her commitment to accountability, transparency and good governance.
The Cabinet should on Wednesday overrule Rafidah’s “secrecy syndrome” and direct that the full list of APs issued in the past 18 years since 1987 when she was first appointed Minister for Trade and Industry should be made public to underline the Cabinet’s new commitment to higher standards of accountability and transparency. Let this be the first fruit of the government’s political will for transparency and good governance to emerge from the 56th UMNO General Assembly.
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