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NST Online » Frontpage
2008/07/26
Where BMW and Mercedes Benz rule

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KUCHING: While controversy rages over the Terengganu government's choice of official cars, in Sarawak it is a non-issue as the official cars for ministers and assistant ministers had always been either the Mercedes Benz or BMW.

The Proton Perdana are used only by the heads of department but the model has since lost favour even among this group due to claims of high maintenance cost and reliability issues.

"The state has not bought a Perdana for a number of years now," said a senior government official who declined to be named.

He said like ministers and assistant ministers, the heads of department had a choice on the model of car they preferred as long as it was within their entitlement.

Most heads of department are now using the Toyota Camry. Some have opted for the Honda Accord.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud's official car is the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow.

His two deputies, Tan Sri Dr George Chan and Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, use the BMW 7 series as their official cars.

Some ministers, like Housing Minister Datuk Seri Abang Johari Tun Openg and Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management Datuk Seri Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, have Jaguar XJ as their official cars.

Most, however, opt for the Mercedes Benz.

There are also others who prefer to use their own cars.

Land Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr James Masing, Public Health and Local Government Minister Datuk Michael Manyin and Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister's Office Larry Sng are some members of the state cabinet who have opted not to take up their entitlement. Instead, they use their own cars for official functions.

The government official said since most of the ministers' cars were still new, there was no allocation in the budget for them to change their cars.

"We only buy a new car when there is a serious need for it. And we do not buy in bulk. We only buy a few cars a year."

 
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