by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, March 31, 1993:
Has Liong Sik become such a ‘lame-duck’ Transport Minister that he had to wait for Ghafar Baba to visit and direct the beefing-up of security at the Subang International Airport
The Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, yesterday conducted a two-and-a-half hour inspection of the Subang International Airport and ordered that its security be beefed up, including the following measures:
(i) Expenditure of RM15 million by Malaysian Airports Bhd on sophisticated equipment as well as new firearms for its enforcement officers;
(ii) Disallowing foreigners to work as cleaners in security areas; and
(iii) Frisking of all cleaners before they are allowed to work on board the aircrafts.
While these measure are welcome, Malaysians cannot help asking themselves as to whether the MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, has become such a ‘lame-duck’ Transport Minister that he had to wait for the Deputy Prime Minister himself to visit the airport and direct the beefing up of a airport security measures – including ordering the adoption of very basic and elementary security measures.
The basic and elementary measures announced by Ghafar yesterday should have been ordered to be implemented two weeks ago by the Transport Minister himself – immediately after 16-yeat-old Shamsul Ramli had paid with his life to show that the 24-hour Subang Airport security surveillance could easily be breached – and not only during the visit of the Deputy Prime Minister yesterday.
Have the incredible ‘record’ of three security scandals at the Subang International Airport in less than a year made Liong Sik so ineffective as a Transport Minister that he had lost all practical and effective control and authority over his Ministry and the departments under it?
This could be illustrated by the fact that despite Liong Sik’s assurance on Monday that newsmen with valid accreditation cards would not be barred from airport assignments, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s VIP room was still out of bounds to journalists yesterday, and reporters had to interview and photograph the visiting British Lord High Chancellor, Lord Mackay of Cashfern, in the discomfort outside the VIP Room.
Malaysia must be one of the few countries in the world where visiting VIPs are interviewed outside the Airport VIP Room rather than inside! Is this another Liong Sik ‘achievement’ as Transport Minister?
It also cannot escape notice that both Ghafar Baba and Liong Sik studiously avoided the subject of the inquiry and its findings into the Subang International Airport Control Tower Fire last October, especially as Ghafar Baba had announced on October 17, 1992 that the Cabinet wanted the report to be completed within two weeks.
It is no wonder that Liong Sik has become a ‘lame-duck’ Transport Minister when he dare not even say what has happened to the inquiry and its findings into the Subang International Airport Control Tower fire last October.