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Malaysians deeply offended by Samy Vellu’s complacency and indifference to first-world standards and mindset when he said leaks in Parliament after RM100 million renovation “common”


Media Statement        
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Parliament, Saturday) : Malaysians are deeply offended by the Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu’s complacency and indifference to first-world standards and mindset when he said leaks in Parliament after RM100 million renovation is “common”. 

He said: “It not only happens in our country, Parliament houses in other countries could be facing the same problem. It’s just that we don’t know about it because it is not reported.” 

The nerve of the man, justifying the leaks in Parliament after a RM100 million renovation by talking about mythical leaks in other Parliaments which he knows absolutely nothing about.  

And his contempt for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who had spoken until his “throat is dry” about first-world mentality and maintenance culture when his Works Minister is utterly contemptuous of such a “silly notion”! 

Public opinion had already been gravely upset by Samy Vellu’s brazen demand for RM22 million to inspect new government buildings in Putrajaya for defects, treating the Malaysian public as suckers and fools who must finally bear the astronomical bill for professional and government negligence resulting in the long list of mishaps of government buildings and public construction projects – while no one else whether contractor, government department such as Public Works Department, or the Works Minister or the relevant Minister concerned,  have to bear any responsibility or accountability! 

And now Samy Vellu is virtually saying that Malaysians must get used to defects like leaks in Parliament after RM100 million renovation even after the RM22 million inspection and further tens or hundreds of millions of ringgit of consequent repairs! 

With such an outrageous and irresponsible attitude, the Prime Minister has more than enough cause to sack Samy Vellu as Works Minister. 

However, Samy Vellu is “untouchable” and cannot be sacked, whatever his faults and failings. 

This is how former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad explained why Samy Vellu, who first became a Cabinet Minister more than 27 years ago on Oct. 21, 1979, and who served in his Cabinet in his entire 22-year administration, cannot be sacked in a recent  exclusive Malaysiakini interview: 

Q. We still have people like (works minister and MIC president) S Samy Vellu there. We know of the complaints against him. 

A. You ask MIC what they would do if I removed Samy Vellu. MIC is scared stiff of Samy Vellu.

So it’s political repercussion factor then? It’s got nothing to do with...

A. When it comes to the head of a component (Barisan Nasional) party, I don’t have that much liberty to pick who the head should be or to remove the head from being in the cabinet. You can see that all the heads of all the component parties are in the cabinet, not because I chose them, but because they were chosen by their party.

Q. What you’re saying is that you have to appoint them (the leaders of BN component parties) to the cabinet. There’s very little choice. So what does that reflect about our political system today?

A. There is a saying - a country gets the government that it deserves. If you are a member of a party and you are unwilling to say that your leader is wrong, to choose a better leader, then you deserve a bad leader. Whether it is fear of the bad leader, or whatever... 

Even if it is a dictator, if they (people in other countries) really want to remove their dictator, they are prepared to stick their necks out. Here, it is not even a case of sticking your neck out. You won’t even stick your little finger out. Everybody is playing safe. If I go against the chief, he’s going to hammer me. Then I won’t get contracts, I won’t be ‘ketua bahagian’ (party division chief). 

No wonder Mahathir had called the Abdullah Cabinet a “half-past six” Cabinet. This is what the former premier said in the second part of his recent interview with Malaysiakini: 

Q. On the same topic, what do you think of the cabinet today. Are they as vibrant as they were under you?

A. Most of them were appointed by me. Now, it is ‘safety first.’ You have to save yourself. ‘Never mind what happens to the country, never mind what happens to the Malays, never mind what happens to anybody, I must remain a minister. I must remain deputy minister. I must be the ‘ketua bahagian’ (party division chief). I must be the ‘calon’ (candidate) for the next election. What happens to others doesn’t matter. What happens to the country doesn’t matter.’

They argue, ‘If I am not elected, I will not be able to contribute.’ What are you contributing? You are not contributing anything.

Wouldn’t that be the same during your time?

A. No. During my time, if they don’t contribute, they don’t get it (the position). They know me, and they contribute.

If the prime minister wants you to contribute, you will contribute. But if the prime minister doesn’t care, and each one is for himself, and if each one doesn’t please me I’m going to get rid of (him), not because he is not contributing but because he doesn’t please me, then you are going to spend time trying to protect your pants.

When Parliament reconvenes on June 18 for a four-week meeting till 10th July, DAP MPs will insist on two things, viz: 

  • That the RM22 million bill for the inspection of new government buildings in Putrajaya for defects should not be borne by the ordinary taxpayers but must come from the contractors who built the Putrajaya buildings in such an unsatisfactory condition as to require an  unheard-off RM22 million inspection expenditure; and
  • That it is completely unacceptable and against the “first-world mentality” objective of the Abdullah premiership for the Works Minister or any Cabinet Minister to ask Malaysians to get used to sub-standard public works, such as leaks in Parliament after a RM100 million renovation.



* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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