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Rafidah: Critics should dig up Hansard on 'AP issue'

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Former international trade and industry minister Rafidah Aziz has urged her critics to refer to the Hansard before criticising her handling of permits to import cars tax-free.

Rafidah had addressed the Dewan Rakyat in 2005, following criticisms over how a select group of car dealers were allegedly given preferential treatment by Miti.

"The 'AP issue' was a non-issue. I have explained in Parliament no less! Please check the Hansard before slandering (me) and (thereby) committing a sin," she wrote on Facebook today.

Rafidah was referring a recent Malaysia Today article which accused her of impropriety over the distribution of approved permits, colloquially known as APs, to import vehicles.

Rafidah eventually released a list of AP holders from 1970 until 2005, which led to the late SM Nasimuddin SM Amin, the founder of Naza Group, being labelled as one of the "AP Kings" at the time.

The AP system, designed in the 1970s as part of the New Economic Policy, was aimed at helping bumiputera businesses penetrate the automotive industry.

Rafidah, who was Miti minister from 1987 until 2008, denied allegations that she had "dished out" APs in a questionable manner.

"Now I have come to know that someone is writing about 'The AP case'. Do they think the 'APs' belong to my grandfather to dish out to all and sundry?

"Don't ever besmirch the good name of Miti that I helmed for 21 years," he said.

'Never subservient'

Rafidah added that she was never "subservient" to any prime minister – from Abdul Razak Hussein until Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's era.

"Clearly, these lackeys (and critics) do not know how I work. I hold fast to the principle and value of integrity. It guides my life," she said, while stressing that she is a technocrat.

Rafidah said that she believed in speaking out on problems faced by the public without malice.

"(I will speak up) when issues arise, and those holding public trust give confusing and downright ridiculous explanations, denials and overkill defences which no one can swallow.

"(I will speak up) when issues and problems directly impact the rakyat in a perverted twist of the ‘people first’ mantra," she said.

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