Inability to explain after 48 hours as to whether a meal of nasi lemak on MAS flight costs RM100 to RM180 highlights that something is very rotten with the leadership of the national airline and  the Transport Ministry

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): During question time in the Senate on Thursday, Senator Karim Ghani asked if it was true that a meal of nasi lemak on the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu on Malaysian Airlines costs between RM100 and RM180.

Although the Parliamentary Secretary to the Transport Ministry, Donald Lim said he would have to investigate the matter, it is a matter of concern that MAS is still unable to  account to Malaysians on the matter.

The inability of MAS to explain  after 48 hours as to whether a meal of nasi lemak on MAS flight costs RM100 to RM180 highlights that something is very rotten with the leadership of  the national airline and   the Transport Ministry.

Swiftly on the heel of the decision of the   Russian carrier Aeroflot as  the fifth foreign airline to stop services to the RM10 billion Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), a sixth foreign airline, Northwest Airlines had followed suit announcing that  it would suspend one of its services to Malaysia because the route was not making money.

Four other airlines which had earlier pulled their services out of Kuala Lumpur also because the route wasn't profitable were British Airways,  Australia's Qantas Airways, Germany's Lufthansa and Japan's All Nippon Airways.

The Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik is probably so “punch-drunk” by the endless bad news about  the RM10 billion KLIA  that he is probably  totally numbed to adverse developments whether in connection with the “airport of the next century” or the national carrier which had punched at RM1.792 billion hole in the public coffers as a result of the scandalous RM8-per-share buy-out bailout for Tajuddin Ramli at the taxpayers’ expense.

All the promises which Liong Sik had made about the KLIA had fallen flat  - whether it is  “a truly first-class airport and probably the best in the world” or the world’s  most sophisticated baggage handling system,  the Passenger and Baggage Reconciliation System (PBRS), which could not only detect any passengers who fail to board their flights, but also pin-point a passenger’s luggage and retrieve it within seconds.

As a result, the KLIA has continued to be a “white elephant” and a great burden on air travellers whether terms of money, time or convenience.

When a person cannot feel any sense of outrage, whether for  spending RM9 billion to build a “white elephant” of an international airport or the issue of RM100-RM180 nasi lemak meal, he is no more of  use to the people, government and nation - and the time is long overdue for the country to have a new Transport Minister to bring fresh minds to deal with the multitude of transport problems afflicting the country  on  land, sea to air.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman