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Cabinet should hold special meeting on APs on Tuesday to give Rafidah the last chance to give full and satisfactory explanation of the APs scandal and to publicly express its regret and disappointment if she fails to do so

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The political temperature in the country shoots up with the statement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday that the Cabinet will ask International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz for an explanation  regarding issues on Approved Permits (APs) for car imports raised by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

This is because Najib’s public statement could not have been made without the knowledge and approval of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Rafidah had misled the Cabinet which had specifically discussed the APs controversy  on 6th July, leading the Prime Minister to declare  that the APs controversy had been resolved following Rafidah’s written explanation to Mahathir, when in fact the APs controversy  has kept snowballing into a bigger and bigger embarrassment to the government.

“Once bitten, twice shy”, Abdullah has learnt to adopt a non-committal position and refused to publicly endorse Rafidah’s claim that the APs controversy was a “non-issue” or that she had given full and satisfactory explanation, whether after Rafidah’s winding-up speech at the UMNO General Assembly or during his  recent visit to  South Africa.

Abdullah gave a most revealing  response to the press in Johannesburg  when  asked about Mahathir’s allegation that Rafidah had not spoken the truth - “Let Rafidah deal with that by giving all the details that are needed. You are asking me. How am I to know?”

The Cabinet should hold the special meeting on  APs on Tuesday – a day before its  routine Wednesday meeting -  to give Rafidah the last chance to give full and satisfactory explanation of the APs scandal and to publicly express its regret and disappointment if she fails to do so.

The second list of APs for 2004 which was released by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) on Wednesday was  not as complete and comprehensive as Rafidah had  promised to do when she was  in South Africa.

At a news conference after attending the Malaysia-South Africa Business Forum at the International Sandton Sun Centre in Johannesburg on Wednesday, Abdullah directed that the 2004 list of APs be made public, stating that his administration had nothing to gain by not releasing the information on the APs.

Abdullah said the complete  list of AP holders  would be released in its entirety, including those who have car showrooms.

Rafidah, who was present at the news conference had made an interjection, saying: “We can publish the list of showrooms, how these people got showrooms. We’ve got all that”. (Star 28.7.05)

However the 2004 APs list released by MITI did not give any information about the showrooms of the AP holders, as it only gave information on the number of dealers for the 39 Franchise AP holders, while  no such information was given  for the 76 Open AP holders.

The  special Cabinet meeting on APs should  direct all the  APs lists for the past 35 years since the introduction of APs in 1970, including during the period Mahathir was Minister for Trade and Industry from January 1978  to July 1981,  be made public in line with the Prime Minister’s pledge for accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance.




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

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