by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Friday, September 4, 1992:
Koh Tsu Koon’s most disappointing press conference as Chief Minister
Yesterday was Dr. Koh Tsu Koon’s most disappointing press conference as Penang Chief Minister as he had failed to give any satisfactory explanation on two matters which involved PLUS (Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan).
One month after the 36-hour total stoppage of water supply for 250,000 consumers on the Penang Island as a result of the damage to the water mains at the Sungai Dua waterworks at Seberang Prai, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon is still resorting to political ‘Tai Chi’ saying that the Penang Water Authority (PBA) would take action ‘if there is solid evidence’ to get compensation from whoever was responsible for the water disruption.
Is Dr. Koh Tsu Koon seriously suggesting that one month after the damage of the water mains which caused the 36-hour disruption of water supply, the Penang State Government still does not know the cause and the company which caused it?
This does not speak well for the efficiency and competence of the Penang State Government. How many months more would the Penang State Government need before the Penang Chief Minister would know about the cause and the company which caused the disruption?
It is significant that when the Sungai Dua waterworks mains were first damaged causing the total water supplies stoppage, Dr, Koh appealed to PLUS to be more careful in North-South Highway construction works in future.
Now, he dare not even mention the name of PLUS!
It was only after the DAP demanded to know why the State Government was not taking any action against PLUS, which would have happened as a matter of course against any other private company which damaged the water mains and caused a 36-hour total water stoppage to 250,000 consumers, and given public notice that the DAP would pursue this matter in the next Penang State Assembly that Dr. Koh Tsu Koon talked about asking the Penang Water Board to investigate the cause of the damage to the water mains.
Dr, Koh Tsu Koon also gave a most evasive response to the delay in the completion of the Butterworth-Changkat Jering stretch of the North-South Highway.
Why did Koh Tsu Koon agree to the three-year delay in the completion of the Penang stretch of the North-South Highway in his first decisions as Penang Chief Minister in October 1990?
Dr. Koh said that when he took over as Chief Minister in October 1990, he was given a briefing by PLUS that this stretch of the North South Highway would be completed in 1994.
This is unacceptable and unsatisfactory. Before he became Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon was political secretary to former Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Lim Chong Eu and he should have known that in 1989, Dr. Lim Chong Eu and the then Deputy Works Minister, Datuk Alex Lee, secured the agreement of PLUS to complete the Butterworth-Changkat Jering stretch of the North South Highway by he end of 1991 because of the ‘present road conditions and traffic volume’
How could Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, as the then political secretary, be unware of this new schedule for the completion of the Penang stretch of the North-South Highway?
I would refer Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to the Malaysian Highway Authority 1990 annual report presented to Parliament last month which stated that the 12 km Butterworth-Bukit Tambun stretch of the North South Highway would be completed in June 1991!
If Dr. Koh Tsu Koon really does not know, then he should ask for a full and proper briefing from the Malaysian Highway Authority on the matter.
The question the people of Penang have the right to ask is why in his first decisions as Penang Chief Minister in October 1990, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon agreed to the three-year delay in the completion of the Penang stretch of the North-South Highway from 1991 to 1994.
He should realise that the delay in the completion of the Butterworth-Changkat Jering stretch of the North-South Highway has caused enormous losses to all commuters, whether individuals or companies, in Penang.
It is significant that in both these matters, PLUS is involved, and everybody knows that PLUS is no ordinary company in Malaysia, The connections of PLUS with UMNO are not only well-known but well-advertised in Malaysia and world-wide.
Is this the reason why Dr. Koh Tsu Koon cannot give a satisfactory answer on both issues of the 36-hour total disruption of the water supply and the three-year delay in the completion of the Penang stretch of the North-South Highway?