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DAP Supports Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed Attempt To Check Rampant Abuses Of A King Of Approved Permits(AP) To Import Vehicles By Making Public The AP List

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Press Statement

by
Lim Guan Eng
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(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Despite political differences and serious doubts about the sincerity of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, DAP fully supports his attempt to check rampant abuses and deviations in the granting approved permits to import vehicles(AP) by making public the AP list. During his tenure as Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir was notorious for failing to check corruption and his persecution of those who opposed BNís crony capitalism such as the granting of APs. Amongst those prosecuted included almost every top DAP leader. 

Whatever the reasons or motives behind his new-found zeal in exposing the King of APs, DAP is willing to put aside our past differences by fully supporting Mahathirís call for fully publicizing the list of APs. DAP agrees with Mahathir that disclosing the names of AP holders will put the government in good light, especially in promoting transparency and accountability. 

Mahathirís unhappiness with APs and the King of APs is related to the large number of APs issued to the extent of negatively affecting the sales of the national car in Malaysia.   Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Rafidah Aziz revealed that in 2004  66,277 APs were issued but only 55,713 were imported. APs can not exceed 10% of locally produced and sold cars but yet it appears that more APs were issued than the number of national cars produced. 

With the proliferation of APs, Mahathir as the Advisor of Proton, is understandably concerned that the national carís sales in Malaysia will be affected. After all Proton would get a significant share of the 66,277 imported cars if the number of APs were reduced. However the problem with APs is not merely its impact on Proton and other national cars. For far too long, Proton has sacrificed efficiency, high tariffs on other imported cars and taxpayers funds to boost production and sales. This has resulted in Malaysians overpaying for a car that is not value for money as compared to other car modes. 

The real problem with AP is that it is a form of patronage, easily tradable and exchanged for cash without any need to work for it. In other words, an AP can be sold to another at a price hundreds of times the cost it was obtained from the government. By limiting the APs to a few individuals, millionaires are created. Of course not only the public loses out, but so many APs are issued to a King of AP until even Proton is crying out for help. 

If a former Prime Minister, whose own son has also benefited from the granting of APs, is concerned about this King of APs until he calls for the list to be made known, the time has come for the government to act by releasing their names publicly. Any failure to do so would only reinforce Mahathirís recent remarks that corruption now is worse than before; when previously it was ďunder the tableĒ now it is ďabove the tableĒ.

 

(9/06/2005)


*  Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General