APs - The skeletons under the bonnet?

To ask International Trade and Industry Minister to reveal the names of AP recipients is tantamount to asking her to come out from the closet (or from under the bonnet). For Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to ask the government to make public the names of AP recipients now, the skeletons in the closet must have gotten bigger after his retirement.

To protect the local car manufacturing industry, AP was introduced. However if one were to import a car, which is not locally assembled, he or she should be entitled to get one free AP.

In 1984, I obtained an AP to import a Mercedes-Benz 190E from Daimler-Benz in Stuttgart, Germany. After I took delivery of the car I drove to Port of Rotterdam to have it shipped to Malaysia. Before the ship arrived in Port Klang, the clearing agent asked me to apply for an AP from the Ministry of Trade and Commerce. I went one morning and saw an officer in charge and I was given one on the spot!

Ten years later in 1994, I bought a used Mercedes-Benz 230CE in London. But this time I was told that APs would not be available to individual importer of vehicles as they were only given to certain car importers. I had no choice but to purchase one at the cost of RM25,000!

Lately, I asked a car dealer in town the price of an AP and was told that it would be above RM30,000.

The International Trade and Industry Minister was reported to have said that more than 50,000 units of vehicles were imported last year. If the price of an imported car sold were to include the RM30,000 for an AP, the few privileged AP holders would have accumulated an extra profit of RM1.5 billion last year! And this profit was made without any need to work for it!

Do we really need to nurture a system that will produce instant millionaires without any effort at all required on their part?



The above was published in Malaysiakini on 15/06/05.

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