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Health Minister in Hot Soup

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 — There is no budget allocated for ministers to submit bids for their official car registration number, aFinance Ministry official said yesterday.

“The Treasury has never allocated a budget for ministers to submit bids for a registration number for their official cars,” an unnamed official from the ministry was quoted as saying by Sin Chiew Daily today.

The officer was responding to Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai’s explanation yesterday that his RM24,200 bid for the registration number WWW 15 was for his new official car.

However, Liow avoided answering who had paid the RM24,200 bill, saying the bidding exercise had been handled by his officers. The Chinese daily also reported former MCA vice-president Tan Sri Fong Chan Onn as saying every minister’s official car was allocated with a free registration number.

Fong added since it was free of charge by the government, there is no ceiling price for the number.

On May 28, it was announced that the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ismail Sultan Iskandar, beat close to 10,000 bidders to win the tender for the vehicle registration number WWW 1, with the highest bid of RM520,000. He also beat the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who won the number WWW 5.

The results of the tender are available on the Road Transport Department (RTD) website. Bidding for the highly-coveted vehicle registration prefix started on April 30 and ended on May 14. Thousands thronged the three Kuala Lumpur RTD branches to place their bids for the WWW prefix.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha announced that WWW 1 had set an all-time high bid. The amount surpassed the record set by the number plate MCA 1 in 2010 which was sold for RM300,100. -TMI