KUALA LUMPUR, DEC 27: A DAP lawmaker has called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the long distance bus industry, following the fatal bus crash in Muar on Dec 24.
“The 14 deaths of the Pagoh bus crash on the Christmas eve should not be taken lightly, and must not be in vain like all those involved in bus crashes previously,” the DAP Johor chairman said in a statement.
He was responding to the incident that occurred in the early hours of the morning on Christmas eve, when a bus plunged into a 20m ravine, killing 14 and injuring 16 more. The driver had allegedly had only 3 hours of sleep before embarking on the journey.
Liew, who is also Kluang MP, urged Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai to take swift action to address the issue immediately, warning that if the government failed to tackle on the road safety, more fatalities will occur.
“We can’t just stand by and watch millions of ordinary Malaysians taking long-haul buses with no guarantee of safety” he said.
“Society at large won’t benefit if everyone loses confidence in long haul buses and starts driving their private cars instead” he added.
Liew also said the RCI aim is to reform the long haul bus industry from salary and health of drivers, safety of vehicles, and enforcement.
He also said despite the report on Genting Highlands bus crash in August three years ago, no efforts or changes has been made from the government to solve the issue.
“I would like to ask, what the government has done so far in response to the Genting Highland report ?” Liew questioned.
The Genting tragedy was the deadliest vehicle accident in the nation’s history, recording 37 deaths and 16 injuries.
Liew added the report was submitted to the Transport Ministry on January 28, 2014 and was subsequently made public.
“Most of the 51 recommendations were supposed to be carried out within two years, but I have seen no change at all to the industry,” he said.
The reports contained damning assessments of the institutions such as Road Transport Department (JPJ), Public Works Department (JKR) and Puspakom.
“The report should warrant a major shake up but nothing has happened since,” Liew added.
The report also said the top management of certain government agencies had failed to prioritise the public safety and demonstrated lackadaisical attitude in improving road safety.
There was no initiative taken by any relevant authority to monitor the speed limit, and there were clear evidences on blacklisting of the crashed bus on the JPJ official website, the report said, adding that Puspakom too, had demonstrated a lackadaisical attitude in inspecting busses and did not take any proactive measures to improve its shortcomings. The report also criticised the PWD for not being serious about prioritising the road safety.