KUALA LUMPUR: They were said to have had the most number of Approved Permits to import cars. It is now confirmed that Tan Sri Nasimuddin SM Amin, Datuk Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim, Datuk Mohd Haniff Abdul Aziz and Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad are the AP kings.
According to the list of AP recipients released by the Government yesterday, the four – all involved in selling imported cars – were given more than 28,000 of the 67,158 APs allocated thus far this year.
Each AP can be sold for between RM20,000 and RM30,000.
The list, which is expected to be hotly debated at the 51st Umno General Assembly beginning Thursday, was released by the Prime Minister’s office amid the controversy surrounding the issuance of APs. (See list on Pages 30 and 31)
Of the number, Nasimuddin, managing director of the Naza Motor Group, held 12,524 APs mainly under Naza Kia Sdn Bhd.
For Nasimuddin, five of his six companies which received APs had other shareholders. His brother, Datuk SM Shalahuddin, was listed as a shareholder in five while in one company, Naza-Brabus Sdn Bhd, one Datin Zaleha Ismail is listed as the third shareholder.
Syed Azman, Mohd Haniff and Azzuddin received a total of 15,759 APs under several companies.
The list also indicated the year from which the recipients had been getting APs, but did not state the total received over the years.
The announcement came as a surprise as it was the first time that the names of AP recipients had been made public. Government leaders had earlier said that the policy of not revealing the names would remain.
The AP issue made newspaper headlines when former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that the issuance of large numbers of these permits had led to unfair competition against national car Proton.
Many importers, said Dr Mahathir, were also under-declaring the prices of cars.
He had questioned how 20 companies were given the bulk of more than 50,000 APs when the Government’s objective was to assist as many bumiputra businessmen as possible by spreading out the issuance of such permits.
The statement from the Prime Minister’s office accompanying the list said there were two types of APs – open APs and franchise APs.
Under the open APs, the issuance of which was terminated in 1988, permit holders were allowed to import new and used cars from any source.
Franchise APs are issued to companies which have exclusive agency agreements with foreign car manufacturers.
The AP, issued by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, was introduced in 1970 with the objective of providing opportunities for bumiputra entrepreneurs in the motor vehicle sector.
Nasimuddin, who obtained his first AP in 1988, imports Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot, Ferrari, Mazda, Maserati, Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Brabus cars.
Syed Azman and Mohd Haniff, both former ministry officers, emerged on the AP scene in 2002.
Under two companies, Atlantic Star Auto Sdn Bhd and Auto Pacific Star Sdn Bhd, the former ministry officers obtained a further 5,669 APs to import Ford and Chevrolet cars. They also received APs to import Audi cars under Territorial Star Sdn Bhd.
Other major recipients included:
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