Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the Triang DAP Branch Anniversary Dinner held in Triang, Pahang on Friday, 26th August 1994 at 7 p.m.
I had not expected Mahathir to remove Liong Sik as Transport Minister but want the Prime Minister to realise the magnitude of Public loss of confidence in Liong Sik as Transport Minister
I had not expected the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed to remove the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik as Transport Minister because of three Kuala Lumpur International Airport fires in two years, the stupid attempt to ‘cover-up’ the recent Subang radar station fire and his failure to visit the scene of the fire until 60 hours later.
Only those who are very naïve politically would ever think that that was a possibility that Mahathir would remove the MCA President as Transport Minister.
What I had hoped is that the Prime Minister would at least realise the magnitude of the public loss of confidence in Liong Sik as Transport Minister – and this was why in Ipoh last Friday, there was a spontaneous signature campaign by 1,453 people to demand the removal of Liong Sik as Transport Minister for his proved imcompetence, irresponsibility and failure of leadership in the Transport Ministry.
The 1,453 who signed the petition to the Prime Minister to demand the removal of Long Sik before more Kuala Lumpur International Airport fires occur had not gathered specifically for that purpose – but they were so outraged by the third Kuala Lumpur International Airport fire in two years as to act spontaneously to demand for Long Sik’s removal.
Mahathir said that “signatures came from the same batch of people who keep signing blindy” is not only incorrect, aspires to be a world stateman.
Is Mahathir suggesting that by making the Subang radar station fire into an issue in next general elections, a Barisan Nasional victory would be a mandate to continue to have three Kuala Lumpur International Airport fire in every two years?
Mahathir challenged the DAP to make the Subang radar station fire into a political issue in the next general elections.
The DAP has no intention of ‘politicising’ transport disasters under Long Sik as Transport Minister, like the three Kuala Lumpur International Airport fires in two years, for these are not party political issues but national issues which affect the international reputation of Malaysia, our investment climate, the Visit Malaysia Year 1994 and the safety of air travelers whether local or foreign.
Is Mahathir suggesting that by challenging the DAP to make the Subang radar station fire into an election issue, the Barisan Nasional can take its victory in the next general elections as a mandate by the people to allow the Barisan Nasional Government to continue to have three Kuala Lumpur International Airport fires in every two years?
This is most illogical and senseless. There is a need for the Government and Cabinet to take a more serious attitude not only about bureaucratic responsibility and accountability, but also Ministerial responsibility and accountability.
Unless Long Sik as Transport Minister is made to accept responsibility for three Kuala Lumpur International Airport fires in two years, then nobody is going to learn anything from the latest Subang International Airport fire!
I have said that only those who are politically naïve would think that there was a possibility that Mahathir would remove Long Sik as transport Minister.
This is because Long Sik is no ordinary Minister. He is MCA President and however marginal the MCA Ministers have become in Barisan Nasional decision-making process, it is unthinkable that any UMNO Prime Minister would remove the MCA President from the Cabinet for gross incompetence.
From the political point of view, UMNO does not mind having incompetent MCA leaders as Ministers – including an incompetent MCA President. This is because the position of the Prime Minister would be immeasurably strengthened when the Cabinet Minister who is also MCA President is generally regarded as incompetent and unfit to continue as Minister.
How can the MCA Ministers stand up in Cabinet and government for the rights of the people as a whole and the Chinese community in particular, when they know that they are beholden to Mahathir for keeping them in Cabinet, when they should have been removed long ago for gross incompetence, irresponsibility and failure of leadership resulting in a string of avoidable disasters and scandals.