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Will Rafidah perform another disappearing act from Parliament during the MITI winding-up debate tomorrow or Tuesday and another Cabinet directive will be needed to compel her next parliamentary attendance?
Media Statement( 2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): As there has been no news or sign that the Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz will personally and directly reply to MPs in the three-day government winding-up of the 2006 Budget debate beginning tomorrow, all MPs must be asking whether Rafidah will perform another disappearing act from Parliament during the MITI winding-up tomorrow or Tuesday and another Cabinet directive will be needed to compel her next parliamentary attendance.
MPs are entitled to know beforehand whether she will be personally winding up the MITI debate, as she has the worst record for any Cabinet Minister in playing truant from Parliament - attending only 31 days in six years of some 400 parliamentary sittings.
Under the parliamentary schedule, MITI will be the fifth Ministry in the list for the winding-up debate, after the Prime Ministerís Office, the Finance Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Plantations and Commodities. This means that the MITI winding up will be either tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday morning.
Yesterday, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad released Rafidahís letter dated 14th July which was sent to him on the directive of the Cabinet, raising questions on seven areas of APs and national automotive policy.
In the parliamentary question-and-answer session on 4th October, I posed Rafidah six questions which she evaded. During the 2006 Budget debate, I also posed ten questions to Rafidah.
Many questions were also asked by other MPs during the 2006 Budget debate, as all MPs, whether government or opposition, are unanimous in their dissatisfaction with her failure to give proper accountability on this four-month-long scandal..
As Rafidah was able to immediately resume official duties after her kneecap replacement surgery ten days ago, giving long media interviews as well as receiving foreign visitors under the full glare of national and international media publicity, she has no excuse whatsoever to absent herself from Parliament to personally answer all the queries about the AP scandal and the national automotive policy raised inside Parliament or outside Parliament, including the many questions and issues raised by her former boss, Dr. Mahathir.
Rafidah should table in Parliament the 29-page memorandum she had prepared for Cabinet on August 10 after missing the Cabinet for four consecutive meetings and which she had intended to release to the public to present her case on APs and the national automotive policy, until stopped by the Cabinet on the ground.
The reason given to the public at the time was that the AP and National Automotive Policy had been taken out of her hands and handed over to a Cabinet Committee headed by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Subsequently, Rafidah went international in Singapore to tell the world that she is still the Minister responsible for APs and the national automotive policy. In view of this, her 29-page memorandum on the AP scandal and the national automotive policy should be made available to MPs during the MITI winding-up tomorrow or day after.
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