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Parliament Roundtable of political parties, MPs, NGOs and civic groups on APs controversy specifically and the right to information of Malaysians generally

at the DAP public dialogue “DAP Parliament/Assembly Report –  APs and Islamic State”
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Ipoh, Wednesday): Four  big issues  have been dominating the thoughts and discussions  of Malaysians in the past month, viz: 

  • How long Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz can last as the Minister for International Trade and Industry after being booed and heckled by UMNO delegates at the UMNO General Assembly and being told a “liar” by her ex-boss, former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on her explanations with regard to the Approved Permits (APs) controversy;
  • Whether the Opposition has a new recruit in the person of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad with his trenchant criticisms of Rafidah, the APs controversy and the national automotive policy.
  • UMNO Youth’s demand for the revival of NEP for another 15 years which had completely overshadowed  the impressive opening  speech of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at last week’s UMNO General Assembly on corruption, meritocracy and towering Malaysians, as his UMNO winding-up speech two days later had raised questions about his seriousness and commitment with his  support for  UMNO Youth’s stand for revival of NEP and warning against honest criticism of NEP.
  • The outrageous conduct of Barisan Nasional MPs in supporting  the extremist demand by one UMNO MP in Parliament that Members of Parliament and Malaysians who do not  accept the country  as an Islamic State should leave Malaysia.

Mahathir has not joined the Opposition but I welcome his new conversion to a policy of  government accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance as we are now  standing on the same platform calling for release of the 2004 APs list.  I have just received a SMS informing me that the Prime Minister has issued a directive from Johannesburg for the release tonight of the 2004 APs list.  

I am prepared to give support to anyone, regardless of party or political history, whether Mahathir, Abdullah or Rafidah on any issue or matter if this is in the best interests of the people and nation, like the public  release of the list of AP holders. 

With  Mahathir as  a new convert to a policy of accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance, I urge him to also  fully support making public all the  APs lists for the past 35 years since the introduction of APs in 1970, including during the period he  was Minister for Trade and Industry from January 1978  to July 1981, just before he became the fourth Prime Minister. 

The APs mess  has highlighted the failure of accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance, which must be the concern of all political parties, NGOs, civic groups and ordinary Malaysians in Malaysia is to become a “First World” nation. 

I propose to invite  political parties, MPs, NGOs and civic groups to a Parliamentary roundtable early next month on the issue  of APs in particular and the right to information of Malaysians in general to formulate a policy which is in consonance with the pledge of Abdullah to lead a clean, incorruptible, people-oriented, accountable, trustworthy and just administration. 



*  Lim Kit Siang,Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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