(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sikís culture of defeatism is in direct contrast to the "Malaysia Boleh" slogan of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad when the MCA President concedes that the RM9 billion Kuala Lumpur International Airport cannot be rat-free for the next few years.
This means that the KLIA, which the government prides as "the airport of the next century", will enter the new century with the unique claim as the only hi-tech airport of the world infested with rats!
Yesterday, Liong Sik said that 3,340 rats had been caught and destroyed at the KLIA since the opening of the airport last June.
He said: "This problem will remain at least for a few years
as the airport is located quite near to oil palm plantations,"
What has happened to Liong Sikís call last July to make the KLIA rat-free after KLIA received bad publicity of rats running around in broad daylight at the KLIA?
Liong Sik had said then that a pest control company which was appointed to exterminate rats at KLIA had caught 291 rodents in the past five days and the company estimated that there were still about 600 rats in the airport!
Six months have elapsed, and although Liong Sik said last July that there were about 600 rats left at the KLIA, the number killed since then is five times this figure. What is worse, Liong Sik dare not mention how many rats are now left at the KLIA. Is it 1,000 or 2,000?
Malaysians must be flabbergasted by Liong Sikís complacency about the rat menace at the KLIA. Ling said the rodent problem had not disrupted airport systems so far and that the only complaints received so far have been from the press.
Last month, a Malaysian Airlines captain aborted a flight half an hour after take-off to Perth and returned with its 251 passengers to the KLIA after a rat was spotted on board in the first-class cabin.
A similar incident took place last July when a MAS flight was delayed for 15 hours after a rat was spotted aboard.
I presume Liong Sik has been informed that all the passengers affected enjoyed the flight delays and disruptions caused by the KLIA rats!
How can Liong Sik be so complacent, insensitive and irresponsible as to claim that nobody have complained about the KLIA rats except the press?
Can the Transport Minister disclose how many flights had been delayed or affected at the KLIA because of the rampant rodent problem?
It is no use Liong Sik talking about giving incentives to promote the KLIA when the authorities concerned are giving the worse publicity to KLIA by their inability to run a hi-tech airport by making it rat-free.
The Transport Minister is clearly fighting a losing battle to make KLIA a rat-free hi-tech airport. May be the Transport Ministerís portfolio should be privatised to anyone who can make the KLIA rat-free.