Thursday, January 05, 2006

MCA on defensive over Liew's death

I've read on someone's blog (sorry, can't recall which one) that the Gerakan Party has criticised Human Resource Minister Dr Fong over his inaction on errant contractors of building sites, leading to the tragic and horrifying death of the late Dr Liew. I have even heard that Dr Fong had attempted to seek a meeting with Dr Lim, the President of the Gerakan Party, over the internal Barisan Nasional 'back stabbing'.

Can anyone tell me whether there is any truth in this?

The Star Online has been, until yesterday's Cabinet announcement, remarkably reticent on the affair while the New Straits Times (NST), an UMNO mouthpiece, has provided an account of safety-errant construction developers.

This could mean that either the MCA Ministers have been squirming in their hot little seats, or there may be a nexus between MCA and the developer and, given that it's Malaysia, some bumiputra involvement as well. But the MCA has been on the defensive.

It seems that overlapping bureaucratic boundaries make DOSH the responsible inspectorate without enforcement powers, which belong to the local authorities like the local councils. The Cabinet wants to provide DOSH with more bite, or it will just make Dr Fong an unfortunate paper tiger.

However, I sure didn't appreciate Dr Fong's attributing observations that the contractor had continued working so immediately after Dr Liew's death as nothing more than remedial work on safety equipment. Neither did I appreciate the KL Mayor's earlier announcement to reporters that the company had complied with building safety regulations, when anyone with an IQ above moronic level could tell that was nonsense.

The NST has this to say:

"If so much was known beforehand [about safety-recalcitrant construction developers], why wasn’t more done to prevent Friday’s deadly bungle? There certainly are enough powers for DOSH to act, though perhaps not sufficiently to impose its will since licences and permits are granted by other authorities."

Well, today the Cabinet has ordered work to stop on the Plaza Damas project in Sri Hartamas, and the Construction Industry Development Board to investigate and come up with a report fast.

But if what I've read about internal Barisan Nasional sniping has been true, then the Gerakan Party is exploiting the tragedy to embarass its old Nemesis the MCA. Mind you, if the shoe was on the other foot, you can bet the MCA would be licking its chops as well.

That's the tragedy of ethnic politics where Chinese-based parties like MCA, Gerakan, and in a de facto sense the DAP or even a part of PKR scramble over the Chinese crumbs. We have seen the Malay-based parties of UMNO and PAS and also PKR jostled likewise with their ethnic constituency.

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