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LKS provides Rafidah with opportunity for a comprehensive no-holds-barred accountability session on APs scandal in Parliament on Monday


Media Statement

by Lim Kit Siang  

, Saturday): The Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz finally succumbed to pressure and  cut short her leave to appear in Parliament  for the 2006 Budget presentation by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday.

She stole  the thunder from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was presenting his second budget as Finance Minister,  replacing him as the focus of media and parliamentary attention  although she refused to throw any light  or say a single word about the swirling AP scandal which had been haunting her for the past four months.

It would be wise for Rafidah to heed the advice of her former boss, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad that she “tackle approved permit (AP) issue in Parliament and leave less important ministerial matters to subordinates”.

She should not tarry any longer and should take the first opportunity to give a satisfactory accounting of the AP scandal in Parliament, which is coming Monday.

There is no question on the AP controversy slated for  Monday’s Order Paper  although there is one  on Tuesday by the UMNO MP for Gerik,  Dr. Wan Hashim Wan Teh asking on the efforts of  the government to protect  the national automotive industry from decline and losses as a result of the poorly-controlled import of foreign cars.

With the multitude of questions which have snowballed in the four-month  AP scandal, it is clearly impossible for  justice to be done to the  AP issue with one parliamentary question - even if the unusual practice of allowing four supplementary questions is resorted to.

What is needed is a full and no-holds-barred accountability session in Parliament on the AP scandal, with the Minister fielding all the queries.

I am offering Rafidah such an opportunity in Parliament on Monday. I give public notice that when I debate the 2006 Budget on Monday, I will not only speak at length on the AP scandal, I will allow Rafidah to have the floor as many times as she wants to give a full  accounting through the parliamentary device of seeking clarifications during my speech.  Similarly, I would also allow Barisan Nasional MPs who have questions to be put to Rafidah on the AP scandal  to do so through the same  parliamentary device.

I await the rendezvous with Rafidah in Parliament on Monday for a comprehensive accountability session on the AP scandal, where I can ask all  I want, Rafdiah  answer all she wishes  and BN  MPs raise all the  queries they  want to put to Rafidah.

I am surprised by Brendan Pereira’s   column “In the name of transparency” in yesterday’s New Straits Times.

Brendan’s suggestion that  there is a campaign for the “public lynching” of Rafidah is news  to me.  Although UMNO MPs have shared with me their disgust and outrage at Rafidah’s handling or mishandling of the AP scandal, I have not detected any move or proposal for the “public lynching” of Rafidah. 

I fully agree, however, with Brendan that “Rafidah does not owe anyone an apology for letting the public know which MPs got APs”.  But Rafidah does owe an apology for the MPs AP  List – for the List’s mischief and malice because of its selectivity, omitting the data  from 1997 to 2000, which was part of my original question, as well as the full list of individual, Open and Franchise APs going back to 1987.

But  Rafidah, her Deputy Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah and Parliamentary Secretary Dr. Tan Yee Kew, all seemed to have agreed that the release of the MPs AP List was wrong, finding  a government officer to be the  scapegoat for the MPs AP List.

Rafidah should come to Parliament on Monday to name the government officer who prepared  the MPs AP List, repudiate all decisions  to penalize the officer concerned and give an assurance that the officer would be commended instead of being victimized.



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

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