From Ibrahim M Ahmad
Since winning 47 seats at the 15th general election, PAS MPs have come under intense scrutiny for questionable statements made both inside and outside Parliament.
Kepala Batas MP Siti Mastura Mohamad is now facing – not one – but three lawsuits for alleged remarks she made on Nov 4 connecting three DAP leaders with former Communist Party of Malaya leader Chin Peng and ex-Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Then, on Nov 16, Setiu MP Shaharizukirnain Abdul Kadir called for local airlines to be shariah compliant. He wants prayers recited on all commercial airlines before each flight takes off, something criticised as impractical and misguided.
Opposition MPs appear to resort to these remarks due to a lack of subject matter expertise, depth and intelligence.
Siti Mastura will need lawyers to defend her, but maybe I can help Shaharizukirnain and some of his colleagues who may not be aware of the real issues affecting the transport industry.
This is not because I support PAS, but so that there can be healthy debate, both in Parliament and outside of it.
This will allow opposition MPs to challenge the government of the day and be a “check and balance” in the real sense of the term.
One aviation-related issue that opposition MPs should inquire about is the problematic KLIA aerotrain system, and the approach taken by the authorities to resolve it.
Complications arise as Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB), which manages KLIA, is owned by the finance ministry but managed by the transport ministry.
In issue today is a recent decision by the transport ministry to purchase replacement aerotrain carriages from China at a cost to taxpayers of RM1 billion. The problem is that the procurement proceeded without calling for a tender.
PAS MPs should call on the government to explain this.
After all, it was exactly one year ago yesterday that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, shortly after his installation, said all government procurements must undergo a tender process.
So, why was an exception made in this case?
Another major airport issue lacking the attention it deserves is the proposed Subang Airport redevelopment plan.
Apparently, a new two-aircraft airline has been given the go-ahead by the aviation authorities to operate jet aircraft services from Subang.
The public has also been kept in the dark about some of the plans mooted by certain corporate players to serve air travellers.
PAS MPs should challenge the government to be transparent and make details of these plans readily available to the public at large. After all, these are likely to be services the public will need to avail themselves of whenever they fly.
Costly RapidKL buses
The transport ministry also recently decided to purchase 150 electric buses from China on RapidKL’s behalf at a cost of RM600 million.
Did any of our PAS MPs ask the minister to justify the expenditure and provide details? Well, they should. That is what they were elected to do.
Terengganu menteri besar Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar, the party’s Kemaman by-election candidate, an aerospace engineer and lecturer, has also been touted as a technocrat.
Will he lead the party’s charge into a more worldly relevance?
Ibrahim M Ahmad is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.