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APs should be awarded on the basis of need and the ability to increases economic opportunities, not political connections.

Media Statement
M. Kula Segaran

(Ipoh, Saturday):
The recent controversy over the allocation of APs (Approved Permits) between former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir and Datuk Seri Rafidah, Minister for International Trade and Industry provided comic relief to an otherwise grim socio- economic situation in Malaysia, what with rising inflation, rising crime, more corruption and shrinking economic opportunities.

The controversy also exposed the highly unjust and crude system under which APs have hitherto been allocated. So  much so that there must be fairer criteria for the allocation of APs, if it is not to degenerate into a complete farce.

The APs policy was began by the government many years ago as a form of affirmative action to help Bumiputera business people. However, are they helping Bumiputeras who are really in need of help?

From the published lists of AP allocations over the part few weeks, no Malaysian can escape the distinct impression that the present system has been open to abuse and bias.

Why are certain individuals given so many APs? How many applications and applicants were there in the first place? How many were rejected? Why?

Although some favored Malaysian-Chinese businessmen and tycoons were also given some APs, Why were other Malaysian ethnic minorities bypassed? For instance, the Indians, the Eurasians, the Portuguese community of Malacca, the Malaysian- Thai community of Perlis and Kedah do not seem to have been given any. Why?

There should be a completed review, rethink and overhaul of the entire AP policy and system of allocation. The first priority should be regardless of race.

Why so many UMNO leaders and BN big shots should be awarded so many APs? This is a scandal and a disgrace. APs should be awarded on the basis of need and the ability to increases economic opportunities, not political connections.

A new policy and system of AP allocation should be more group or community-based rather than individual-based. This means that a cooperative society with a good track record of management should stand a better chance than an individual businessman of management of businesswoman.

There is no reason why a well-managed trade union or an experienced society like, say, the Malaysian Association for the Blind or a well organized Teachers- Parents Association should not be favorably considered for some APs in order to further strengthen them in their activities and the realization of their objectives.

And the list of socially-motivated and directed organizations can go on and on. And the way these organizations make use of their APs can and should be monitored closely, to ensure they benefit the members and the public at large rather than some individuals.

If Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badwai is really serious about transparency and justice, the he should have no hesitation whatever in accepting our humble proposals.




* M. Kula Segaran, MP for Ipoh  Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman

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