Last week, automotive portal Drive Safe and Fast (DSF) published an article detailing how the new government of Malaysia approved 36 new approved permit (AP) holders.
When reached for comment, deputy International Trade and Industry minister Dr Ong Kian Ming said he needed time to verify the claim.
Today, it was confirmed that the claim was true - the ministry has just granted the “gravy train” to 38 new bumiputra companies.
The source that first uncovered the new APs, revealed that these new holders are already in talks with established AP holders to get them to “buy” their APs for some easy money.
There was no open-tendering or publication of the criteria involved, similar to the Perak situation where a 400ha forest project was awarded behind closed doors.
This is unjustifiable in the New Malaysia that the Pakatan Harapan government had promised.
For years, the DAP had lambasted the AP system, painting it as a symbol of corruption, greed and power abuse, but now, instead of change, there seems to be a return to the AP days that DAP, in particular, condemned.
Dr Ong has not only failed to take steps to curb existing APs, he is also guilty of remaining silent when he has a duty to inform the rakyat of the truth. His silence is inexcusable and has contributed towards the creation of these new APs .
In the minds of many Malaysians, APs have become indistinguishable from cronyism.
This analogy first sprang to life during Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz’s tenure as International Trade and Industry ministry, where the mishandling of APs earned her the moniker “AP Queen”.
Even Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad conceded that at one point, APs only enriched selected individuals.
Furthermore, if the government under Dr Mahathir’s leadership aims to develop the automotive industry, grow the electric vehicle market and develop the mass transit system, wouldn’t increasing the number of permits that allow for tax-free imports of reconditioned vehicles be detrimental to these goals?
Senator Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker