Speech (Part 2) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the Subang DAP Branch anniversary dinner held at Subang New Village, Selangor on Friday, 16th September, 1994 at 8 pm.
Liong Sik is not only the worst Minister present in the Cabinet but the worst Transport MInister in Malaysian history.
Recently, Subang became world-famous because of the frequency of fires, armed robberies and ‘near-miss collisions’ of aircrafts at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, so much so that Malaysian businessmen and tourists abroad have found it an embarrassment to identify themselves as Malaysian’s.
This is because the first question they are invariably confronted when they identity themselves as Malaysians when abroad is why the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at Subang is so prone to fires, armed robberies and ‘near-miss collisions’!
Malaysians have found it very ‘unsafe’ to claim that such airport disasters and accidents were things of the past, for such airport disasters continue to happen with frightening regularity – resulting in six airport fires in two years, two goldbar armed robberies in four months and three ‘near-miss collisions’ of aircrafts on the runway in three weeks!
Government servants very upset that the former DCA Director-General, Datuk Zaludin Sulong was made the sole scape-goat of the Subang radar station fire while the Transport Minister is allowed to go scotfree.
Government servants have expressed to me their great dissatisfaction that the former Director-General of the Department of Civil Aviation, Datuk Zaludin Sulong, had been made the sole scapegoat of the Subang radar station fire on August 13 which knocked out the RM16.5 million terminal approach radar forcing the air traffic controllers to resort to manual control.
Government servants are very upset because they regard it as a great injustice that Zaludin was made the sole scapegoat for the Subang radar station fire while the Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, is allowed to go scot-free.
Furthermore, after the removal of Zaludin Sulong as DCA Director-General, there had been another six airport mishaps, namely three additional airport fires at the Terminal One toilet, Terminal One money-changer counter and the airport power sub¬station; one goldbar armed robbery and two ‘near-miss collisions’ between aircrafts on the runway.
Who must bear responsibility for these six airport mishaps since the Subang radar station fire on August 13? Why is Liong Sik, as Transport Minister, allowed to disclaim responsibility and accountability for the longest catalogue of accidents and disasters for any international airport in the world?
Liong Sik is not only the worst Minister in the present Cabinet, he is also the worst Transport Minister in Malaysian history.
Liong Sik’s tenure as Transport Minister would be remembered as the ‘darkest chapter’ of the Kuala Lumpur Interna¬tional Airport – where it not only became an international stand¬ing joke as an airport which is unsafe and operated most unprofessionally, but caused enormous damage to the country’s interna¬tional reputation as an investment centre and tourist destina¬tion.
Last year, the Government spent RM200 million to build Terminal Three as a ‘fast-track’ project, without going through the normal tender process, on the ground of urgency to enhance Subang International Airport’s capacity to deal with increased aircraft movements.
All these urgent expenditures to enhance Subang Airport’s capacity have been wasted as neither Terminal Three nor the airport could operate at optimum capacity because of Subang radar station fire – which had compelled the reduction of the daily number of flights permitted to-operate through the airport.
Subang airport’s ‘bad record’ has undermined Malaysia’s international competitiveness.
Malaysia’s international competitiveness has also been undermined by the frequent airport fires and disasters.
The Subang International Airport handles over 70 per cent of the total and over 85 per cent of the international volume of air cargo in Malaysia. Air cargo tends to be most competitive for commodities with high value and low weight, such as consumer goods and electronic components, which are forming an increasing part of Malaysian foreign trade.
Subang Airport’s ‘bad record’ has therefore created problems for the country’s foreign trade and international competitiveness.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, must choose between being ‘kind’ to Liong Sik or being ‘kind’ to Malaysian interests in protecting her position as an investment centre, tourist destination as well as her international competitiveness.
Liong Sik has become a threat, because of his incompe¬tence and mismanagement as Transport Minister, to Malaysia’s position as an investment centre, tourist destination as well as her international competitiveness.
Liong Sik should step down as Transport Minister without any more ado, or Mahathir should simply remove him as Transport Minister and appoint a new man with a new mind!