by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, March 23, 1993:
Liong Sik had been ‘sleeping on his job’ as Transport Minister with three Subang International Airport security scandals in less than a year
The Transport Minister, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, yesterday emerged from a closed-door meeting with senior officials of the Malaysian Airports Bhd (MAB), the Department of Civil Aviation, Malaysian Airlines and his Ministry on the security of the Subang International Airport following the death of the 16-year-old stowaway in Johannesburg with the profound announcement: “A preliminary report had been given to me but there was nothing to say how the boy got into the airport. I don’t think we will ever know.”
If nobody would ever know how Shamsul Ramli got into the airport to stowaway on a MAS Jumbo jet to Johanneseburg, what then is the use of the inquiry which Liong Sik had earlier announced?
Another profound announcement by Liong Sik yesterday was that he had directed MAB to tighten security at the other airports in the country. This is because the whole country was under the impression that Liong Sik had issued such a directive to all airports following the second Subang International Airport fire in six months last October.
The meeting yesterday itself was most remarkable – for it took place one whole week after the Shamsul Ramli tragedy and scandal, where a ‘not-very-bright’ 16-year-old boy paid with his life to show the country that he could breach the 24-hour security surveillance and regular patrols by the 400-odd security staff at the Subang Interna¬tional Airport.
This reflects the incredible and scandalous slowness and complacency bordering on indifference and irresponsibility of the Transport Minister to the third security scandal of the Subang International Airport – as such a meeting should have been held within 48 hours of the incident at the latest? It is clear that Liong Sik does not have a proper sense of priorities as to what is important and urgent as distinct from what is trivial and secondary.
Yesterday, Liong Sik announced that the Malaysian Airports Board would take over from MAS the responsibility for ensuring the security at Subang airport, and that henceforth, everybody would know when ‘somebody is sleeping on the job’.
Liong Sik had been ‘sleeping on the job’ as Transport Minister as demonstrated by three security scandals at the Subang International Airport in less than a year. What is being done about it?
It is also scandalous that after more than a week, not only nobody could tell how Shamsul Ramli breached the airport security, no one could also confirm the rumours that Shamsul Ramli was employed as a cleaner by one of the MAS contractors.
MAB and the authorities should stop its ‘vendetta’ against pressmen for exposing the lax airport security
Instead of finding out as to how Shamsul Ramli could have breached the airport security, the authorities seem more interested in ‘punishing’ the pressmen for their expose of the lax security at the airport days after the Shamsul Ramli incident.
As a result, MAB has regarded as its first priority and task the drawing up of stringent measures restricting the movement of pressmen at the airport, including limiting the number of reporters allowed to go into the VIP rooms for interviews.
One would have thought from its order of priority, MAB had reasons to believe that some pressmen had assisted Shamsul Ramli to breach the airport security.
Liong Sik must have been informed of the MAB’s priority to tighten up security by ‘penalising’ the press, and the question is why he has given the ‘green light’ to the MAB to embark on such a vindic¬tive operation. Is Liong Sik also using the MAB to hit back at the press for the adverse publicity he had been getting for three Subang Airport security scandals in less than a year?
Liong Sik should direct the MAB to stop carrying out a vendetta against the pressmen, who had in fact done the Ministry of Transport and the country a great service by exposing the lax security of the Subang Airport despite three security scandals in less than a year.
Liong Sik and MAB should in fact be expressing their thanks and appreciation to the pressmen instead of carrying out a vendetta against them.
Liong Sik should realise that if he has been going through embarrassing days, it is not the fault of the pressmen, but his own poor Ministerial leadership where there could be three security scan¬dals at the Subang International Airport in less than a year.
Even now, Liong Sik has himself to blame as he has not been able to tell the Malaysian people what has happened to the inquiry and its findings into the Subang International Airport Control Tower fire last October.
If Liong Sik is not prepared to give a full explanation as to what has happened to the inquiry and findings into the Subang International Airport Control Tower fire last October, he would become the target of parliamentary interrogation in the next meeting of the Dewan Rakyat starting on April 26.