by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP far Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 13th May 1994:
Titan Group should explain whether it agrees or has vetoed the announcement by the Deputy Minister for International Trade and Industry, Chua Jui Meng in Parliament last week that MITI would issue APs for import of plastic resins if there is no reply on NOL by Titan in five days
The managing director of The Titan Group, James Chao denied yesterday that it was influencing the Government to con¬trol the domestic market for plastic resins, polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) – the raw materials used far making plastic products.
This is a most shocking statement. Is Titan denying that it was at its pressure that the Government had imposed two protectionist measures on plastic resins, namely 30 per cent customs tariff for the plastic resins last year and since April 7, the AP restriction together with the ‘No NOL from Titan, No AP from MITI’ rule?
And isn’t it true that the MITI rule that it would not issue APs to local plastics manufacturers unless Titan had issued a ‘No Objection Letter’ – NOL – has created even more red tape, bureaucracy and delay, to the extent that plastic manufacturers had to wait for more than ten days for a response from Titan?
It is very significant that James Chao had avoided specific grievances publicly voiced by the Malaysian Plastic Manufacturers Association.
Local plastic manufacturers had been promised that the whole process of applying for APs would be ‘as painless as possi¬ble’ – but as things worked out, it has become a very painful process, creating a crisis for the local plastic industry with prospects of mass closures because of the destruction of its competitiveness, whether in the local or export markets.
Many plastic manufacturers complained that when APs was imposed on April 7, they were caught with shipments at ports – waiting far their NOLs from Titan before they could obtain their APs. This is despite the fact that there was an understanding that APs be issued to all shipments in transit.
There was also an understanding with Titan that as far as possible, NOLs be given for the grades of resin not produced locally, and that for the first six months of implementation of the AP requirement., NOLs should be issued according to the quantity consumed in the past 12 months.
Why has Titan breached these understandings, forcing many plastic manufacturers to use stocks before the AP require¬ment was introduced, and the supplies of these manufacturers are now running low.
But the most important issue is what is the Titan stand on the two announcements made by the Deputy Minister for International Trade and Industry, Chua Jui Meng, in parliament last week when I raised the crisis in the plastic industry caused by the 30 per cent tariff and AP for, import of Polyethylene (PE) resins.
Chua Jui Meng said that MITT would issue APs to plastic manufacturers to import plastic resins if there is no reply from Titan for NOL in five days, and secondly, that Free Trade Zone (FTZ) and Licensed Manufacturing Warehouse (LMW) plastic manufacturers which produce for the export market would automatically be issued with APs.
Can James Chao state whether Titan agrees with these two announcements, made by Chua Jui Meng in Parliament last week, or whether Titan disagreed and has in fact vetoed both announce-ments, as there has been no official confirmation by MITI.
This must be the first time where a Deputy Minister had announced two government stands in Parliament, but which had been immediately vetoed by powerful vested interests – which could only by Titan!
I call on Titan not to oppose and block the implementation of these two announcements made by Chua Jui Meng in Parliament last week, as a demonstration that Titan is not influencing the Government to control the domestic market for plastic resins.
The MITI should scrap the ‘No NOL from Titan, no AP from MITI’ rule, and MITI should stop being an agent for Titan in the issue of APs.
All applications for APs should be forwarded to MITI, with copy to Titan, and if within five days, Titan does not send to MITI a response on the applicant’s request for NOL, MITI should automatically issue APs to the applicant.
Furthermore, Titan’s refusal to issue NOL subject to review, with MITI having the final say on whether to disregard Titan’s objection!