Speech (Part 2) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the Serdang DAP Branch Aniversary Dinner held at Serdang on Saturday, August 20, 1994 at 8 p.m.
Eight questions for Liong Sik about his performance after the Subang Airport radar station fire
Malaysia’s Minister of Transport, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, is entitled to get into the Guiness’ Book of Records because he is the only Transport Minister in the world where there had been three International Airport fires under his tenure.
In other countries, the Transport Minister would have resigned long ago after one such International Airport fire, but Liong Sik has such ‘durian-thick’ skin as well as totally lacking the culture and tradition of accountability that he would not resign even after three Kuala Lumpur International Airport fires in two years.
Liong Sik’s performance after the latest Subang Airport radar fire which knocked out the RM 16.5 million terminal approach radar, have raised many questions about his competence, responsibility and suitability to continue as Transport Minister.
The Subang radar station fire took place last Saturday at about 8.30 p.m. Liong Sik had reluctantly admitted that he was first informed of the fire around midnight on Saturday.
These facts raises the following questions:
1. Was it true that Liong Sik was informed about four hours after the fire.
2. If true, what was the cause of the delay that the Transport Minister was not immediately informed of another Kuala Lumpur International Airport disaster. Didn’t Liong Sik leave specific instructions that he should be informed whenever there is an airport disaster?
3. Why didn’t Liong Sik rush over to the scene of the fire the same night?
4. Why did Liong Sik take 60 hours before he visited the Kuala Lumpur International Airport fire?
5. Liong Sik admitted “an oversight” in failing to inform the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed who had to read about the Subang radar station fire in the newspapers. What was this ‘oversight’! Why didn’t Liong Sik himself inform Dr. Mahathir – if not on Saturday midnight, but definitely by Sunday morning?
6. Liong Sik said yesterday that “instructions have been given that the officials, in future, will not only notify me but also the PM and the DPM”. Is Liong Sik expecting a fourth Kuala Lumpur International Airport fire soon?
7. Why was there an attempt by the Transport Ministry and the department of Civil Aviation to mislead the mass media and ‘cover-up’ the Subang radar station fire until the New Straits Times carried an excellent investigative report on the fire on Tuesday?
8. At the Subang air traffic control complex yesterday, the Director-General of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Datuk Zaludin Sulong, walked out of the Press Conference of the Transport Minister, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik.
Earlier, Datuk Zaludin refused to answer questions directed at him by the press, and the questions were re-directed to Liong Sik by Zaludin. Who is the superior – the Transport Minister or the Director-General of DCA?
The behaviour of the DCA Director-General is highly reprehensible and shows utter disrespect for the Transport Minister. For such open insubordination as well as the Subang Airport radar station fire, Datuk Zaludin whould be removed as DCA Director-General.
But it would be unfair to remove Datuk Zaludin wihout also removing Liong Sik as Transport Minister, who has chalked up three Kuala Lumpur International Airport fires in the past two years.
I do not understand how after three Kuala Lumpur International Airport fires in two years, which have brought so much shame to Malaysia’s international reputation and undermined Malaysia’s investment climate as well as the Visit Malaysia Year 1994, Liong Sik could still go around the country as if nothing serious had happened!
Liong Sik had dishonoured not only the MCA but also the Chinese community by being the only Trasnport Minister in the world with three International Airport fires as part of his ‘record’.
Liong Sik would spare the MCA and the Chinese community of such dishonour if he immediately resigns as Transport Minister.
May be until the next general elections, the MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, should be promoted from Health Minister to Transport Minister!