By Patrick Lee | July 28, 2011
Free Malaysia Today
PETALING JAYA: In a letter to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, the Railwaymen Union of Malaya (RUM) warned him of protest votes against the Barisan Nasional in the next polls.
The letter penned by union secretary-general Jaafar Alias in his capacity as the Tampin Umno information chief also panned the Najib admnistration’s tagline.
“They (KTMB staff) said the slogan of ‘people first, performance now’ does not seem to be relevant… where the views of union members and KTMB employees have been ignored,” he said.
Jaafar also reminded Najib that there were nearly 2,000 KTMB employees in the Lembah Pantai Parliamentary constituency, where PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar reigned.
“There are many voters working for KTMB all over the country,” he added in the July 22 letter.
The letter complained about the inaction against Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) president Aminuddin Adnan, whom RUM blamed for massive financial losses.
According to the union, nearly RM200 million in cash reserves and a RM100 million overdraft belonging to the national train company have disappeared.
“Not one achievement can be seen through Aminuddin’s leadership and the RM200 million cash reserves and RM100 million overdraft have been spent in less than than two years,” read the letter.
Jaafar was referring to Aminuddin’s tenure as KTMB president, which the latter had assumed since Aug 1, 2009.
He also said that the company had nothing new to show for, adding that KTMB’s performance suffered during Aminuddin’s reign.
This detail is one amongst many reasons why the union, fed up with Aminuddin, would hold a picket against him tomorrow at the KTMB’s headquarters at 6pm.
The union men were also sore that the train boss’ contract would be extended for another two years; to July 31, 2013.
Bringing this to bear, RUM questioned the interests behind the decision.
“KTMB’s board of directors, including senior officials from the Finance Ministry and the Transport Ministry said they are not happy with Aminuddin’s performance,” Jaafar wrote further.
He was also convinced that there were “orders from the top” making sure that Aminuddin stayed where he was.
(KTMB is overseen by the Finance Ministry, which Najib leads as minister.)
Jaafar then alleged that the KTMB president was connected to the RM1.8 billion contract involving China-made Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) trains.
Malaysia was due to receive the first of these EMUs this September, with another six on the way in December and the rest by June 2012.
FMT previously reported that the Transport Ministry awarded the EMU contract to a Chinese company, known as CSR Zhuzhuo Electric Locomotive Co Ltd last May.
The deal was alleged to be RM500 million more expensive than intended, prompting a report to be lodged with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
This did not stop the government from going ahead with the deal. The MACC refused to divulge any information over the case.
Jaafar also wrote that RUM had met with Najib on July 14 last year in protest over Aminuddin’s position.
“We explained our problems in length… and you (Najib) seemed to understand, while asking us to be patient and give Aminuddin a chance because of his newness (in KTMB),” he said.
But the meeting was to no avail.
RUM said that the event created a bigger divide between Aminuddin and the union, causing the former to view the latter as “enemies”.
Jaafar also alleged that senior KTMB officials friendly to the union were also treated with animosity by the company president.
Because of this, Jaafar alleged that there was a “culture of fear” within KTMB’s higher levels.