Defence Minister Najib Abdul Razak should explain why Mindef had not ordered the immediate removal of the ammunition depot from Masjid Tanah after the Addis Ababa huge arms dump blast which killed over 100 people


by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, June 14, 1991:

Defence Minister Najib Abdul Razak should explain why Mindef had not ordered the immediate removal of the ammunition depot from Masjid Tanah after the Addis Ababa huge arms dump blast which killed over 100 people

All Malaysians must be very concerned by the revelation by the Public Account Committee Chairman, Datuk Dr.Affifudin Haji Omar, that the $70 million ammunition depot in Masjid Tanah, Malacca pose a threat to life and safety not only to the military personnel, but to the public as well.

According to Dr.Affifidin, of the 155 units of buildings at the depot, 83 were left vacant by the army as the Ministry had certified unsafe to store ammunition. However, the army used the remaining 72 units to store explosives.

Dr.Affifidin said that based on the explanation by the Mindef officials, the PAC concluded that even the 72 units used to store ammunition were unsafe.

The Defence Minister, Datuk Najib Abdul Razak, should explain why he did not order the immediate removal of the unsafe ammunition depot at Masjid Tanah, Malacca after the Addis Ababa huge arms dump explosive which killed over 100 people early this month and the Sungai Buloh fireworks factory explosion in Selangor which killed 26 and injured 125.

It is most shocking that there is a total lack of seriousness on the part of government departments and top officials, up to the Minister of Defence level, about their responsibility to protect life and safety of the military personnel and the general public.

The Defence Minister should also explain how the Mindef could be so careless and irresponsible as to allow the construction of the ammunition depot in a built-up area in Masjid Tanah and secondly, the sub-standard and hazardous construction of the ammunition dump as the defects of the buildings constituting a grave threat to life and limb of military personnel and the general public.

The Defence Minister should explain who were the contractors of the Masjid Tanah ammunition dept and on what basis were they given the tender to build the depot.

Why was the Mindef so lenient and lax with the contractors as not to demand the performance bond of $3.69 million although it discovered the defects before the bond expired in April 1984.

The public have a right to know who is responsible for the decision not to demand the performance bond of $3.69 million from the contractor of the ammunition depot, and even to impose a surtax on whoever is responsible to make him personlly compensate the government for his gross negligence in looking after public interest.

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