By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Wednesday, 24th August 1994:
If the Prime Minister is not prepared to remove Liong Sik as Transport Minister, he should set up a Cabinet committee to assume all responsibilities of the Transport Ministry
If the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, is not prepared to remove Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik as Trasnport Minister, in the interests of Malaysians and travelers from other countries, he should set up a Cabinet Committee to assume all responsibilities of the Trasnport Ministry as the people have no confidence in the capability of Liong Sik as Transport Minister.
This is not only because of three Kuala Lumpur International Ariport fires in two short years, but also because Liong Sik had never fulfilled his undertakings made publicly, especially promises made after a transport disaster.
For instance, after the Kuala Lumpur International Airport control tower fire in October 1992, Liong Sik announced the formation of an inquiry committee to probe into the ariport control tower fire to detemine its causes and to make recommendations to prevent any recurrence.
He also promised Malaysians that this inquiry would be conducted in public, that the press would be invited to attend the inquiry and that the Transport Ministry would reveal all details of the inquiry.
Liong Sik said at the time: “It’s better to have an open rather than a closed inquiry which will create suspicion and (invite0 speculation. We do not hide things. Everybody has the right to know what happened.”
Furthermore, the then Deputy Prime Minster, Ghafar Baba, promised that the inquiry committee would complete its investigations in two weeks’ time as the government would not permit of any delays or postponements.
It is now nearly two years since the airport control tower fire, and all these promises made by Liong Sik at the time had not been honoured. There was not only no public inquiry, the press were also barred from the inquiry. In fact, Liong Sik himself knows nothing about the outcome of the inquiry, as he said recently when I pressed him on the issue that he had not received the report.
Lionng Sik is also not bothered to find out why the inquiry committee into the airport control tower fire is taking two years when it had been instructed to complete its investigations and recommendations in two weeks!
Under the circumstances, LiongSik had forfeited all right to be Transport Minister. However, if Mahathir so ‘appreciates’ the ‘talents and capabilities’ of Liong Sik, regarding him as ‘irreplaceable’, the least Mahathir should do is to set up a Cabinet Committee to assume responsibilities over the Trasport Minstry to minimise the damages that could afflict the country from other ‘transport disasters’ in future.