DAP calls for a public inquiry into the negligence and mishandling of the Government in the Cheras tolls issue

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung , Lim Kit Siang, at the meeting with the Batu Pahat DAP Liaison Committee held in Batu Pahat on Friday, 14th September 1990 at 4 p.m.

DAP calls for a public inquiry into the negligence and mishandling of the Government in the Cheras tolls issue

The statement by Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, yesterday that the government had been negligent in the study on the Cheras residents were fully justified in their spontaneous demonstration last Friday because the Government had mishandled the Cheras toll issue.

It is indeed shocking that even up to now, a week after last Friday’s spontaneous demonstration by 10,000 Cheras residents against the Cheras toll, the Deputy Prime Minister could say that he was not aware of the dealing between the Kuala Lumpur City Hall and Teratai S.K.Sdn. Bhd.

No one would believe Ghafar Baba’s statement that whether Teratai S.K.Sdn.Bhd. would make a profit or lose money is a risk the company had to take. The people in general and the Cheras residents in particular are entitled to know whether it is true that with the toll collection of $1 of cars and $2 for lorries and other heavy vehicles, Teratai S.K. Sdn Bhd. Would recover its investments within two years.

In fact, I would ask Ghafar Baba whether it is true that Teratai S.K. Sdh.Bhd had projected that it would be able to gross $1.2 billion in income, making a profit of some $900 million.

With the admission by the Deputy Prime Minister that the government had been negligent and mishandled the Cheras tolls issue, the DAP calls for a public inquiry into the whole Cheras tolls issue, as to how the Government had mishandled it and created the situation which led to the spontaneous 10,000 people demonstration by the Cheras residents last Friday.

Such a public inquiry should also inquire into the basis for the award of the privatization of the tolls contract to Teratai S.K. Sdn. Bhd., especially as to whether there had been favouritism or nepotism in the award of the contract.

MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, declared in Ipoh yesterday that the suspension of the Cheras tolls is not a victory of the DAP.

The DAP had never claimed victory for the suspension of the Cheras tolls. It is victory of the people of Cheras, in particular the ‘one per cent’ of the Cheras people who were condemned by Liong Sik for being irresponsible and law-breakers in their demonstrations against the Cheras tolls.

In fact, it is precisely because of the public-spirited and courageous stand of this ‘one per cent’ of the people of Cheras that the tolls had been suspended!

The people of Cheras know which political party had done most in the battle against the Cgeras tolls issue. If Liong Sik really believes that it is the MCA which had done the most to back up the Cheras people on the Cheras tolls issue, why is it Liong Sik dare not even visit Sungai Besi to have a dialogue with the ordinary people of Cheras?

If the Cabinet had listened to Liong Sik and believed his allegation that the demonstration last Friday was the work of irresponsible bad-hats and law-breakers, then there would be no suspension of the Cheras tolls at all.

At present, if there is any single political leader who is most unwanted by the people of Cheras, it is none other than Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik!