KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 337 MPs and senators, were among 4,500 individuals who had applied and obtained approved permits to import cars from the year 2002 to this year.
Yang Berhormats from both divides have benefited. They include Datuk M. Kayveas, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn, Datuk Donald Lim, Datuk Ong Tee Keat and Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
The Opposition MPs, among others, were Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar, Chong Eng and Teresa Kok.
However, Lim Kit Siang's name was not on the list of recipients which was issued by the International Trade and Industry Ministry yesterday as a written reply to the Opposition Leader who had asked about it.
It is learnt that the AP is a one-time benefit which the MPs are entitled to throughout their term as wakil rakyat.
In the written answer to Lim, the ministry said APs were also issued to Malaysians returning from abroad (2,721) and diplomats (981).
The others were given to participants under a Human Resources Ministry's programme to lure experts to return to Malaysia (196), participants of the Tourism Ministry's “Malaysia My Second Home” programme (57), Malay Rulers and Yang di-Pertua Negri (60), Royal Australian Air Force (50), and expatriates (98).
The ministry said the approvals for the APs were made based on transparent conditions and vetted by two committees chaired by the minister and the secretary-general of the ministry.
Several MPs whose names were listed, when interviewed later, explained that they had utilised it to buy vehicles for their personal use.
Datuk Yap Pian Hon (BN – Serdang) said he bought a reconditioned Mercedes-Benz E230 for RM190,000.
“I didnt sell the AP as it is a once in a lifetime thing. I bought the car and I think it would have been more expensive without the AP.”
Datuk Abd Rahim Bakri (BN – Kudat) said he too had bought a vehicle.
“MPs are eligible for it just like any other citizens,” he said.
Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (BN – Santubong) got a six-month-old reconditioned Mercedes-Benz E230.
“It is much cheaper and I am still using it. It is in Kuching.”
Devamany Krishnasamy (BN – Cameron Highlands), who bought a Harrier, said: “I don't think this is an issue. There is nothing much we can gain. We are eligible for it only once. We were briefed about our privileges when we became MPs.”
Theresa Kok (DAP – Seputeh) said she bought a Honda City for herself while Nasharuddin Mat Isa who was former Yan MP said he bought a RM103,000 Mercedes-Benz C220 a year after he became an MP.
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