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RM48 million Customs uniform scandal ´┐Ż let the chips fall where they may

 

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Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  
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(Petaling Jaya, Thursday) :  In Parliament on Monday, Barisan Nasional MP for Jasin, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof raised a RM48 million Customs uniform scandal, including  allegations that the batons senior officers carry is RM700 a piece and is made in the United Kingdom. The overlap on their uniform is stitched in Scotland at  RM600 a piece, while the buttons on their uniform is RM800 a set.

 

New Straits Times today in a report headlined ´┐ŻCustoms Dept hits back at RM48 million allegation´┐Ż sourced clearly from the Customs Department named Mariwasa Kraftangan Sdn Bhd  as the company contracted to supply the Customs uniform attire in 2002 and 2003.  On the specifics, the allegations that the batons senior officers carry is RM700 a piece and made in the UK were denied (its Kuala Kangsar-made and costs RM160 to RM250 each).

The NST report said:


"When the contract was formalised, 22 items were listed as accessories.

"The accessories ranged from crowns and were donned on epaulette, lanyard, aigulette (braided cord with chrome or brass finial), pips and gorget (collar badges).

"´┐ŻA button was priced at RM2.90, while the aigulette (for senior officers) was quoted at RM950.

"´┐ŻAt present, a Customs officer´┐Żs uniform has eight lapel buttons and two breast pocket buttons... and with each button box quoted at RM17, this would definitely not cost RM800,´┐Ż said the official.

"The official explained that with the exception of an aigulette, all items were designed and manufactured locally.

"The official explained the aigulette was imported from
Pakistan as there was no local expertise available to put together the threaded finery.´┐Ż

 

Is there a RM48 million Customs uniform scandal or not? 

 

Let the chips fall where they may, but the truth must be out. 

 

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should back off from his ill-advised and ill-considered call for an end of the ´┐Żslanging match´┐Ż between the MP for Jasin and the Customs and Excise Department, or  the very commitment of his administration to accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance will come under question.

 

As Finance Minister, with direct responsibility over the Customs Department, he has personal responsibility to t Parliament and the nation to reveal the whole truth about the RM48 million Customs uniform scandal.

As otherwise, the chips will fall on Abdullah  himself  instead.

(31/08/2006)     


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

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