Olympian height of arrogance and contempt for accountability, transparency
and good governance the first leadership crisis for Abdullah whether the
Prime Minister could get his Cabinet Ministers to honour his pledge of an
open, efficient and trustworthy government which is prepared to hear the
truth from the people
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): In the midst of the 2004 Athens Olympics, the Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has reached a new Olympian height of arrogance and contempt for accountability, transparency and good governance and presented Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with the first leadership crisis whether the Prime Minister could get his Cabinet Ministers to honour his pledge of an open, efficient and trustworthy government which is prepared to hear the truth from the people.
Yesterday, Samy Vellu clearly administered a public rebuke to the Transport Minister, Datuk Chan Kong Choy when he told the press that he alone was qualified to talk and handle queries about the closure of the RM238 million Middle Ring Road Two (MRR2) Package 11 and the Kepong flyover cracks scandal, declaring: “You should take what comes from only my mouth. In this country today, only the Minister of Works knows what has to be done there (MRR2) and what is happening in this ministry”.
The implications of Samy Vellu’s outburst was quite obvious, that Chan Kong Choy was talking poppycock when the Transport Minister said on Monday that the Public Works Department (PWD) would be able to finish the repair works on the MRR2 Kepong flyover within six weeks.
But it is the other implications of Samy Vellu’s arrogant outburst which are most disturbing and even scarifying – firstly, that all the professionals in the PWD and the Works Ministry do not have a true and complete picture of the MRR2 Kepong flyover cracks scandal and are not competent to handle it, despite the MRR2 Kepong flyover cracking within two years of its completion resulting in its closure when it should be able to last for 50 years without any structural problems; and secondly, that he is not beholden to the Prime Minister’s general election pledge of a clean, incorruptible, efficient, accountable, transparent and people-oriented government prepared to hear the truth from the people as he need not be accountable at all to the Malaysian people for the RM238 million MRR2 scandal.
Why is Samy Vellu so insistent in gagging professionals both from PWD and outside from giving their expert opinions as to the causes for the MRR2 Kepong flyover cracks?
Is this because there are professional expert opinions, both inside the PWD and outside, that the MRR2 Kepong flyover cracks point to design flaw, a possibility which Samy Vellu had publicly dismissed with the threat of defamation proceedings?
What has continued to amaze and confound Malaysians is how Samy Vellu could be so confident that the MRR2 Kepong flyover cracks could be repaired within three months and at a cost of RM20 million, when he claimed that the authorities have yet to determine the cause for the cracks while denying the possibility of design fault. Is this a new achievement of “Malaysia Boleh” where a three-month RM20 million repair programme could be formulated without knowing the causes of the flyover cracks?
When I sent an urgent fax to Abdullah yesterday, I sought to impress on him that the MRR2 Kepong flyover cracks scandal does not just concern the PWD or the Works Ministry but is a major test for his nine-month premiership on its commitment to accountability, transparency and good governance. I did not realize that it has become a crisis of his premiership as to whether he could impose his leadership on his Cabinet Ministers. Is he a leader in the Cabinet or is he leading no one?
I urge Abdullah to assert and demonstrate his leadership of the Cabinet by sending out two clear and unmistakable messages, firstly, that while the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) is fully empowered to investigate into the corruption aspect of the RM238 million MRR2 project, he would not countenance any cover-up or avoidance of the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance by any of his Ministers through the continued denial of all available information to the public about the MRR2 Kepong flyover cracks, directing the immediate publication of the two consultant reports, one by the Australian consultant engaged by the contractors and the other by the German consultant engaged by the PWD. Secondly, that he would not countenance any delay in ending the nightmarish traffic gridlock faced by tens of thousands of people in the affected area by ensuring that the MRR2 Kepong flyover is immediately repaired so that it could be safely used in the shortest possible time.
If the only way Abdullah could assert his leadership of the Cabinet and “walk the talk” of his general election pledge of accountability, transparency and good governance is to suspend or dismiss Samy Vellu as the Works Minister because of his Olympian contempt and arrogance, he should not hesitate to begin a belated Cabinet clean-up.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman