SPECIAL NUMBER PLATE: Critic of sultan had obtained AGS 10 for free
PUTRAJAYA: OFFICIAL records show that the strongest critics of the sultan of Johor and health minister in the WWW vehicle registration issue, had themselves used their positions to obtain "golden" numbers for their cars.
Former Perak menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, whose plate number AGS 10, once adorned his Toyota Camry, had used the number until the car was sold.
The Camry was procured by the office of the state secretary in January 2009 and was the same one that turned turtle in front of the Perak Umno building in January 2010. Nizar, who suffered minor injuries in the accident, extricated himself out of the vehicle and waved to the crowd.
Nizar later admitted hat he had exceeded the speed limit.
Records obtained by the New Straits Times showed that the tender for the number, categorised as "golden" (meaning it must fetch no less than RM10,000 in a tender), was made under the name "YAB menteri besar Perak".
While AGS 10 was sold that year for RM60,000, records show that the "offer price", "total" and "deposit" from Nizar were RM0.00.
Under Nizar's administration, at least eight other special numbers were obtained by the state secretary's office for the use of its "financial officers".
The numbers AFD 33 and AFF 88 were bought for between RM200 and RM9,500.
Nizar had incurred the wrath of the people of Johor and Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar when he tweeted that the RM520,000 paid by the Johor ruler for the much-coveted WWW 1 number plate could have been put to better use.
Sultans are allocated seven free numbers each.
It is understood that a Proton Perdana Executive V6, bearing the plate number BKC 1818, is also being used by Nizar.
Perak Barisan Nasional Youth chief Khairul Azwan Harun said Nizar should not have made those statements, seeing his own penchant for unique numbers.
"When he, too, was entitled to a special number, Nizar should have followed his own advice to the sultan of Johor and sold off the number, so that the state government could use that money to help the rakyat."
Records also showed that one Abdul Hadi Awang was the first and current owner of PAS 12, while one Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz is the owner of PAS 17.
The licence plate PG 1, currently takes pride of place on Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's Mercedes-Benz.
The number was inherited from the previous state administration.
Penang Wanita MCA chief Tan Cheng Liang called on Lim to auction off the number and put the money into the state's coffers.
Tan said she could not understand why Pakatan leaders made an issue over the WWW 1 and WWW 15 numbers, unless it was to help their campaign to take over Putrajaya.
She said this was part of the opposition's smear campaign and it had incited anger among the Chinese community towards MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and MCA.
"If Lim thinks it's morally wrong for Liow to use his allocation for a free number as a minister, then Guan Eng has no business using PG 1. At least Liow returned the number and proceeds from it would go to the government's coffers."
The NST was unable to obtain a response from Lim as it had been the policy of the state government not to engage with this newspaper.
Lim had said that it was an abuse of power if the Road Transport Department had given the MCA deputy president the WWW 15 number plate.
The RTD said it had offered the number to Liow as he was eligible as a minister to receive it for free. Liow then rejected the offer. Additional reporting by Looi Sue-Chern