by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 8th May 1991:
Royal Commission of Inquiry should have the widest terms of reference to inquire into government negligence in allowing a fireworks factory to operate in a residential area for 17 years with inadequate industrial safety for workers.
DAP welcomes the announcement this afternoon by the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, on the Cabinet decision to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Sungai Buloh fireworks factory blaze which have caused over a 100 dead or injured.
This was what the DAP demanded when a DAP delegation of DAP national leaders, MPs and Assemblymen visited the Sungai Buloh fireworks factory site and met Sungai Buloh new villagers this morning.
Among those who accompanied me in the visit to Sungai Buloh this morning were the DAP Deputy Secretary- General, Sdr. P. Patto, DAP National Treasurer, DAP MPs, namely Sdr. Dr. Tan Seng Giaw (Kepong), Dr. Kua Kia Soong (Petaling Jaya), Sdr. Fung Kui Loon (Klang), Sdr. Tan Kok Wai (Sungai Besi) and DAP Assemblymen, namely Sdr. Dr. Oon Hong Geok (Bukit Aman), Sdr. Mahadevan Nair (Damansara Utama), and Sdr. Tiong Shyuan Chyuan (Bukit Gasing).
The part of Sungai Buloh new village adjacent to the fireworks factory looked like a war zone, as if the houses had suffered the effects of carpet bombing from the air.
This raises the grave question as to why the government had allowed a dangerous industry like a
fireworks factory to operate for 17 years in a residential area and with utterly inadequate industrial safety for its workers.
Sungai Buloh new villagers complain to the DAP delegation that there had been three previous fires in the fireworks factory, with at least four deaths in the past 17 years, and that repeated protests by the Sungai Buloh new villagers against the siting of the fireworks factory had been to no avail. The new villagers believed that this was because very powerful and influential people had interests in the fireworks factory.
The Sungai Buloh new villagers also complain that the fireworks factory had tested its fireworks at the new village, causing damage to the houses and properties in the new village, as well as threat to life and limb – but complaints by the new villagers got nowhere.
The Royal Commission of Inquiry should have the widest terms of reference which is not confined to the immediate cause of the explosions and blaze yesterday causing the death or injury of some 100 people.
The Royal Commission of Inquiry should investigate into government negligence in allowing fireworks factory to operate for 17 years in a residential area with inadequate industrial safety measures for the workers.
The Royal Commission should also inquire into why the protests by the Sungai Buloh new village had been ignored by the various Federal and State Government authorities.
Selangor Mentri Besar’s claim that the fireworks factory unlicensed and illegal and that the Selangor state Government knew nothing about it highly scandalous.
I am very shocked by the claim of the Selangor Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Mohamad Taib, today that the fireworks factory is unlicensed and had been an illegal factory and that the Selangor State Government knew nothing about its existence. This is highly scandalous.
This shows that the Selangor State Government did not even bother to heed the protests which the Sungai Buloh new villagers had repeatedly made against the siting of such a dangerous factory as a fireworks factory in a residential area.
If what the Selangor Mentri Besar said is true that the Selangor State Government knew nothing about the existence of the illegal fireworks factory, then the state government incompetence and negligence is so colossal that the Mentri Besar should submit his resignation.
The Royal Commission of Inquiry should inquire into the negligence and irresponsibility of the Selangor State Government in this man-made disaster.
The various Federal government departments, like the Machineries Department, should also be investigated for they cannot disclaim responsibility for the 100 dead or injured from the disaster yesterday.
Selangor State Government should give $10,000 for every victim and not for all the victims.
The Mentri Besar’s announcement that the fireworks factory is unlicensed and illegal is shocking because this seems to imply that the 100 dead or injured or their families cannot claim a single cent of compensation.
In fact, the Mentri Besar’s announcement appears to be the first step on the part of the Selangor State Government to totally disclaim responsibility. If this is the case, then it will be a most irresponsible action by the Selangor State Government.
The Selangor Mentri Besar announced yesterday that the Selangor State Government would allocate $10,000 for the victims of the fireworks factory blaze. This is grossly inadequate. The Selangor State Government should give $10,000 to every victim of the fireworks factory explosion and blaze, or to the surviving family.
The Royal Commission of Inquiry should conduct its investigations in public, as well as making its report public.
DAP calls for the arrest of the owner of the Sungai Buloh fireworks factory for criminal negligence in causing 100 dead or injured.
I understand that the owner of the Sungai Buloh fireworks factory, which the Selangor State Government now claims had been illegal and unlicensed for the past 17 years, has also other fireworks factory in other parts of the country, including one in Sungai Bakau in Rawang.
If the Sungai Buloh fireworks factory is illegal, then the owner should be arrested immediately for criminal negligence in causing 100 dead or injured.