By Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said he will pay for the WWW 97 car registration number and it will be used for his personal car, the Sin Chew Daily reported today.
The Road Transport Department (RTD) list of successful tenders shows that the winning bid for WWW 97 under Nazri’s name was RM10,010.
Nazri told reporters yesterday that he would be paying for the number out of his own pocket.
“I have a lot of money, how to spend the money? As a minister, RM10,000 is not much; it’s not RM400,000 or RM100,000, that will be too much,” the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department was quoted as saying by the Chinese daily.
Nazri said he had placed a bid for the number because he liked it and it was easy for others to recognise.
“I personally have three cars, one of the number plates is 6, the rest are 97.”
Commenting on the Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai’s controversial WWW 15 number, Nazri (picture) thinks it was not Liow’s fault as he had requested for a new number because of a change in his official car.
According to Sin Chew, Nazri thinks that Liow’s giving up of the number was reasonable as the registration numbers of official cars would remain the property of the government after someone leaves their position.
“Some ministers have official cars with the numbers 11, 13 or 8, but car plates of official cars belong to the government, not to the individual,” he said.
Nazri was also reported by Malaysiakini to have said yesterday: “It’s difficult for him (Liow) to explain. People get worried because he is a minister. He didn’t apply, when this thing happened, he probably didn’t explain properly.”
Liow yesterday said he was giving up the coveted WWW 15 registration number he had won in a bid last month, whose RM24,200 price triggered public outrage that intensified after it was waived by authorities.
“Let me reassert that I did not bid or tender for WWW 15. Following the proper procedures, my office had requested for the registration number to use for the minister’s official car,” Liow said in a statement yesterday.
“My office received an official letter dated June 6 from the Road Transport Department confirming the free registration number.
“As I now know there was bidding for this number, it is only right that I do not exercise my option. The number should go to the highest bidder,” he said in the statement.
Liow had said last week that he was not sure who paid the RM24,200 for the WWW 15 number.
He had confirmed the Ministry of Health did not pay for the bid, but defended himself by saying that the “process (of bidding) was handled by JPJ (RTD).”
Pressed for answers over who paid for the bid, Liow had said “not sure, I have to check”.
“All ministers are eligible for one number; I didn’t exercise the option earlier,” Liow had said.
Thousands of people had thronged the three Kuala Lumpur RTD branches to place their bids for the coveted WWW plates.
The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ismail Sultan Iskandar, beat close to 10,000 bidders to win the tender for the vehicle number WWW 1, with the record-setting bid of RM520,000.