By Parliament Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, August 19, 1994:
Liong Sik must explain why he did not show up at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport until 60 hours after the fire as the Prime Minister has said that he would have immediately visited the scene as happened in the first Subang Airport fire on April 1992
Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, must explain why he did not show up at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport until 60 hours after the fire as the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, said in Jitra yesterday that he would have immediately visited the scene as happened in the first Subang Airport fire on April 1992.
As the Minister responsible, Liong Sik should also explain why he did not inform the Prime Minister immediately of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport fire on Saturday night which knocked out the RM16.5 million terminal approach radar, and forced the air traffic controllers to resort to manual control.
Is it because Liong Sik was afraid of being scolded by the Prime Minister for another Kuala Lumpur International Airport fire, which is a big blow both to Malaysia’s international reputation as an investment centre with reliable infrastructural facilities and the Visit Malaysia year 1994, resulting in the stupid attempt to ‘cover up’ Saturday’s airport fire in the first instance?
Liong Sik is now leading the campaign to ‘cover up the cover-up’ of Saturday’s Subang International Airport fire
After the stupid attempt to ‘cover-up’ Saturday night’s airport fire, there is now another attempt to ‘cover up the cover-up’, with Liong Sik leading the denial that there had been a ‘cover-up’! This attempt to ‘cover up the cover-up’ is even more stupid than the original ‘cover-up’ attempt.
Surely Liong Sik has more important things to attend to after having three Kuala Lumpur International Airport fires under his tenure as Transport Minister than to waste time trying to ‘cover up the cover-up’ over Saturday’s night airport fire?
The archestrated MAS and Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) statements yesterday denying that there had been a ‘near miss’ on the runway at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Tuesday, involving a MAS Boeing 737-400 and an EVA Air Boeing 767-400 are equally stupid.
An unnamed DCA official said that the ‘near miss’ was a ‘minor incident’. I do not think the unnamed DCA official would be so indirrerent if he had been on one of the two aircrafts involved in the ‘near miss’.
The ‘near miss’ incident on Tuesday is a completely different issue from the question about the safety of manual guidance system for aircraft landing at the Subang International Airport following the destruction to the radar system by the fire.
The MAS corporate communications executive Zawiah Arof said that the incident was an aborted landing and not a near collision as reported in the local papers and that “Even if the plane had landed it would have landed comfortable, without any danger of collision”.
If this was the case, why didn’t the pilot of the MAS Boeing 737-400 contimued with the landing, instead of aborting the landing when the plance was on the verge of touchdown?
Zawiah Arof should ask the 140 passengers and nine crew members on that MAS aircraft and the 241 and 11 crew members on that Eva aircraft whether there was a ‘near miss’ or not. In fact, the ‘near miss’ and the ‘aborted landing’ were on and the same thing in that scarifying experience!
By issuing such a statement, which is greeted throughout the country with howls of outrage, the MAS corporate communications executive has failed completely to ‘communicate’ as he has not learned that the first rule of communication is not to destroy the communicator’s credibility!
This is not the time for the MAS to indulge in semantics, but to admit its problems, mistakes and even ‘near misses’.
Liong Sik should explain why he had denied that the DCA is depending on the RMAF air defence radar to minitor commercial aircraft movements flying to Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Liong Sik should also explain why he had denied that the Department of Civil Aviation is depending on the assistance of the RMAF for air traffic coverage after Saturday’s fire.
Liong Sik said on Tuesday that there was no need to get RMAF’s assistance for the air traffic coverage in the air-space between Langkawi and Batu Arang, Selangor.
However, the Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the coverage was provided when the Ministry of Defence learnt that the DCA needed help to ensure the safety of civilian aircraft flying in that sector – with the RMAF’s air defence radar in Butterworth monitoring commercial aircraft movements from the north flying to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Subang.
Liong Sik has overstayed his welcome and usefulness as Transport Minister and should resign for the sake of the antion and the safety and lives of air travelers
Liong Sik has overstayed his welcome and usefulness as Transport Minister – as he presents the picture of a Minister who is not only lazy, indifferent, irresponsible but totally out of his depths as to the problems and needs of the counrty’s transport sector in the fast-developing Malaysia.
For the sake of the country’s reputation and the safety and lives of air travelers, Liong Sik should resign as Transport Minister without any more delay and let another better Minister take over and end the series of fires at the Subang International Airport and other disasters in the transport field.