by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, October 31, 1992:
The final test of the 1993 budget is whether the government is making use of the favourable economic conditions to resolve the many fundamental problems of nation-building in Malaysia
Malaysia had has a good economic year in the midst of gloomy international economic developments.
The final test of the 1993 budget, however, is whether the government is making use of the favourable economic conditions to resolve the many fundamental problems of nation-building in Malaysia, such as:
Eliminating poverty, regardless of race;
Closing the economic gaps of income and wealth among Malaysians;
Breaking down the divisions in Malaysian society, particularly racial and religious polarization;
Establishing the principle of accountability, responsibility and transparency for all public actions which affect the rights and interests of the people;
Instilling a culture and work ethics of excellence, competence and efficiency; and
An all – out war against corruption and abuses of powers.
All eyes were on the Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and Posts, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu when the Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in his budget speech in the Dewan Rakyat called for “more vigilance towards all forms of corruptions and abuse of power”, and the responsibility of the Government not to allow “a few black sheep” to tarnish its credibility and good image.
All eyes turned to the Minister for Transport, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik when the Finance Minister expressed is grave concern at “the frequency of industrial accidents and mishap”, as “The airport fires, train derailments, power blackouts, and others, could have been due to negligence and poor supervision” and that they had “not only resulted in the loss of millions of ringgit of taxpayers’ money but also tarnished the nation’s reputation”.
Anwar Ibrahim’s diagnosis is correct, but the test is whether such a diagnosis would be followed with all necessary remedial though painful actions.
It is reported today that the Director-General of Civil Aviation Department, Datuk Zolkipli Abdul, is required to relinquish his post because of the second Subang International Airport Fire in six months.
This is only right and proper, but it would be a great injustice if Datuk Zolkipli Abdul is the only person required to relinquish his post as Director-General of DCA – while Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik is allowed to continue as Transport Minister.
How can the public employees regard this as fair when nothing happens to the Transport Minister, who could be so irresponsible on the night of the second Subang International Airport fire on October 15 as to abandon the Subang International Airport and the thousands of travellers and members of the public to utter chaos in order to rush off to Teluk Intan to sing in a MCA karaoke session?
Liong Sik must bear an equal if not greater responsibility than Datuk Zolkipli for the second Subang International Airport fire in not taking all necessary steps to ensure that the Subang International Airport and all other airports in the country had learnt the lesson from the first fire six month ago, and in totally disregarding the public warning of a Canadian safety expert, Dr. Bill Pomfret, that there would be another fire at the Subang Airport.
Two days after the second Subang International Airport fire, Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba said the Cabinet wanted the report into the second Subang Airport fire ‘as soon as possible – within a week or two’. After Ghafar’s statement, Liong Sik said the the Board of Inquiry into the second fire had started work.
Two weeks have since passed, but nothing had been heard about the work of the board of inquiry. Liong Sik said on the second day of the Subang Airport Control Tower fire that the board of inquiry would be a public one, declaring: “It’s better to have an open rather than a closed inquiry which will create suspicion and speculation. We do not hide things. Everybody has the right to know what happened.”
Liong Sik is not only incompetent and negligent as Transport Minister after the first fire, for which he must bear personal and direct responsibility for the second fire, but continues to be incompetent as shown by the total inaction of the board of inquiry although Liong Sik had announced that it would immediately hold public inquiries into the Subang Airport Control Tower Fire.
How can Liong Sik allow the Board of Inquiry into the second fire to drag its feet, when the Cabinet is waiting for a report ‘in a week or two’ while he himself had announced the Board of Inquiry would start work ‘immediately’ and in public sessions?