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(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): DAPís strongly disagrees with Minister in the Prime Ministerís Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz that the protracted dispute between former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz over the Approved Permits (AP) controversy is ďpersonalĒ. In fact the dispute between both of them is not a personal matter but an official issue of public interest involving the credibility and integrity of Malaysia and its Ministers.
How can this be a personal matter when discussing a scandal involving misuse and abuse of tens of thousands of APs worth billions of ringgit given to the few AP Kings, who Mahathir sneered used their extraordinary wealth to fly around in helicopters? How can this matter be not an official issue when the future of Proton and its 300,000 employees are at stake, until Mahathir in exasperation challenged the government to close down Proton (if no one wants it)?
This AP issue is also a real issue that affects the official duties and responsibilities of the government because it involves a former Prime Minster and the current Minister of International Trade and Industry. Mahathir claimed that he was cheated by Rafidah, when he was Prime Minister, into announcing Naza as a national and local car. Rafidah has failed to respond or show proof that she was not involved in the AP scandal.
These are very serious allegations that will garner wide international coverage as Mahathir being synonymous with Malaysia, is still an international newsmaker. For the former Prime Minister to accuse his Minister of cheating him and continue to allege misconduct and abuse of power leading to the creation of AP Kings is big news internationally. How can government be conducted with integrity and credibility if its Ministers are cheats, liars and involved with abuse of power and corrupt practices?
Which foreign investor would believe Rafidah on her investment mission overseas to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Malaysia when they remember news of her protacted dispute with Mahathir, which is not personal but of a public nature. For Nazri to assert that this is a personal matter is both naÔve and irresponsible contributing greatly to the perception that this administration has failed to walk the talk in fighting corruption.
FDI is one of the most important elements to ensuring economic growth for a country and prosperity for its people. China is a good example of how substantial inflows of FDI has transformed the country to an economic giant and world power, attracting US$ 60.63 billion in 2004. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Malaysia placed 7th amongst Asian countries attracting US$4.6 billion in 2004.
FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT IN 2004
DAP expresses concern that the protracted dispute between both of them would be counter-productive towards attracting FDI into Malaysia for 2005, where any significant reduction would affect the livelihood of ordinary Malaysians. No foreign investor would want to invest in a country where its Ministers dare to cheat and lie to their own Prime Minister.
The government has to quickly resolve this matter by issuing an ultimatum to Rafidah to either show proof to refute Mahathirís allegations or else resign. Despite being given many opportunities, Rafidah has failed to do so and show proof that she is not only clean but seen to be clean.
For the sake of the countryís national interests, the welfare of Malaysians and prosperity of our economy, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should direct Rafidah to behave in a mature and responsible manner by resigning as Minister of International Trade and Industry Minister to restore the credibility and integrity of the Malaysian government.