By Ketua Pembangkang and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, on Monday, 5.9.1977:
DAP calls for resignation of Ganie Gilong and Dr. Goh Cheng Teik as Minister and Deputy Minister of Works and Utilities for the Sri Jaya bus-fare increase scandal
On the occasion of the country’s twentieth anniversary of Merdeka, Malaysians must have been disgusted by a string of instances highlighting the ineffectiveness, indifference and even downright incompetence of Ministers and Deputy Ministers.
The spectacle of one bus company, Syarikat Sri Jaya, openly defying the government and 200,000 bus commuters by arbitrarily raising bus fares, and taking its sweet time to adjust back to old prices is scandalous. Where is the Minister of Works and Utilities and the Deputy Minister. What have they done to immediately put a stop to this open defiance of public interest?
In fact, up till today, neither the Minister, Ganie Gilong, nor the Deputy Minister, Dr. Goh Cheng Teik, has been seen or heard. I call on Ganie Gilong and Dr. Goh Cheng Teik to resign as Minister and Deputy Minister of Works and Utilities respectively, for their ineffectiveness and indifference about the public welfare.
It is symptomatic of the mediocre type leadership the Barisan Nasional is providing that in the few weeks before the 20th Anniversary of Merdeka, the public see a host of instance of such Ministerial ineffectiveness, incompetence and indifference.
The Minister of Communications is another example. Two weeks after the container jam in Port Klang came into publicity, the Minister, Tan Sri Manickavasagam said publicly that the Port authorities have been given two weeks to clear the thousands of containers jammed there.
The two-week deadline have come and gone, and the jam is still there. What is the Minister doing about? Or is the two-week deadline really no deadline?
The Minister of Labour, Lee San Choon, is another example. Over 400 workers have been thrown out of jobs by the Malaysia Fancy Plywood & Veneer Co.Ltd. for more than two months. Many of these workers, 75% of whom are Malays, have been thrown out of their houses for inability to pay rent. Others have been put in very situation. In fact, the 300 over Malay workers are suffering great hardships in this Puasa month.
But the Minister is not bothered, and no help had been offered by the Ministry of Labour to these workers, although there is a collective agreement entered into by the management that in the event of retrenchment, the workers will get retrenchment pay. Where is the Minister of Labour. Is Lee San Choon not doing anything because he is more sympathetic to managements and not concerned about the hardship of workers? Or is it because one of the directors of this plywood factory is a former Labour Minister, Bahaman Shamsuddin?
The Minister of Environment, Ong Kee Hui, is another example. He talks about government concern at the logging of Endau-Rompin. But the Pahang State Government is doing ahead to issue more licences to log a further 6,000 acres of the proposed Endau-Rompin National Park.
Ministers must be effective and dynamic. If they can only express concerns, or give deadlines which are not deadlines, or not concerned about their duties to protect the interest of the workers, it is better that there are no such Ministers.