Why should Cabinet consider tomorrow whether to have an inquiry into the Tawau air crash disaster?


by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, September 19, 1995:

Why should Cabinet consider tomorrow whether to have an inquiry into the Tawau air crash disaster?

I am surprised that the Cabinet tomorrow will consider the possibility of an inquiry into MAS Fokker 50 air crash in Tawau.

Why should the Cabinet consider tomorrow whether to have an inquiry into the Tawau air crash disaster when the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry should be a matter of course for a disaster which claim 34 lives and marred Malaysia’s civil aviation reputation?

In fact, a Royal Commission of Inquiry should have been formed already – and the five-day delay shows insensitivity on the part of the Transport Ministry to the air disaster.

This insensitivity to the public fears and concerns is also shown by government reaction to the demand by the people of Bintulu for the immediate relocation of the Bintulu airport – which is at the centre of the Bintulu town.

If the Tawau air crash had occurred in Bintulu airport, half of the Bintulu town would have turned into a graveyard, with human toll running into hundreds or even thousands.

There are two schools, one primary and another secondary, adjoining the Bintulu airport with a total school population of 3,000 – and this must be frightening warning as to what could happen if there is an air mishap in Bintulu airport.

What is very shocking is the comment by the Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Taib Mahmud, that the Bintulu airport is safe as it has “safely features”.

Instead of supporting the demand of the people of Bintulu that the Federal Government should build a new Bintulu airport as a matter of urgency and relocate the Bintulu airport out of the heart of the town, Taib Mahmud is trifling with the lives and property of the people of Bintulu by giving the Federal Government the excuse not to give top priority to the issue of a new Bintulu airport.

This is a classic example of a Barisan Nasional leaders opposing proposals made by DAP leaders “just for the sake of opposition”, although they are good and made in the best interest of the people. When will Barisan Nasional mature and outlive such a negative mentality?

The silence of the Transport Minister, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik on the demand of the people of Bintulu for the relocation of the Bintulu airport is also not a positive or heartening sign.

I call on the cabinet not to be influenced by the Sarawak Chief Minister on the Bintulu airport with the target of relocating the Bintulu airport from the heart of town within 24 months.