DAP calls for a high-powered committee to study into the economic effects of the construction of a canal at Isthmus of Kra
The Thai military government has decided to build a $1,200 million canal at the Isthmus of Kra, which will take nine years to complete.
The Thai government predicted that the canal would draw away 50 per cent of the tankers and one-third of the cargo ships now using the Straits of Malacca.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Ismail, said yesterday before leaving for Bangkok that the Isthmus of Kra canal would not do Malaysia ‘any harm’.
The DAP calls on the Government not to take an indifferent attitude to the proposed construction of the Isthmus of Kra canal, although it would take nine years before the completion of the project, by which time most of the leading Ministers would not be around in government.
The Government should immediately appoint a high-powered committee of inquiry to inquire into the effects of the proposed Isthmus of Kra canal on Malaysian trade, shipping and economy.
It is better and a more responsible attitude for the present Government to inquire into all the aspects of the construction of a Kra canal could have on Malaysian economy, than for Malaysians nine years later to be caught unprepared.
The off-hand attitude shown by Tun Ismail that the Isthmus of Kra Canal would not harm Malaysia is highly disturbing, unless the Cabinet had already commissioned a finding into the possible effects of the Kra canal on the Malaysian economy, trade and shipping. If so, then the Government should release the findings of such a study.
The building of the Isthmus of Kra canal shows the need for more meaningful ASEAN spirit to be shown by members countries of the South East Asian grouping, where the action of one would have consequences on the economy or livelihood of the people of another. It is clear that the decision to construct the Isthmus of Kra canal was taken without any prior knowledge by the Malaysian Government let alone consultation. This does not augur well for a successful operation of the ASEAN.