KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 — The government should offer to pay ex-gratia to families of motorists killed after falling into potholes, veteran lawmaker Lim Kit Siang said today, following two fatalities in the last two days.
The Iskandar Puteri MP suggested monetary compensation as a way for the government to take responsibility for the poor upkeep of public roads that have led to avoidable deaths.
“As a first step in an ‘Operation No Potholes’, the government should pay the families of victims of potholes in Malaysia an extra gratia payment as compensation as admission of the government’s responsibility in failing to ensure no potholes on public roads in Malaysia,” he said in a statement.
He also questioned the Public Works Department’s (JKR) competency in fixing the roads when there were still frequent public complaints after its 2016 pledge for “no potholes”.
The Opposition lawmaker also homed in on Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, asking if the latter was aware of the total deaths resulting from potholes since he was appointed to the post last March, and before that for five years from 2013 to 2018.
“How many in Malaysia have been killed by potholes in the country?” Lim asked.
Killer potholes made the headlines again after two motorcyclists died as a result of falling into them in the first few days of the new year.
Yesterday, news outlets reported a 31-year-old Grab Food delivery rider died instantly after his motorcycle hit a pothole on Jalan PJU 7/2 in Mutiara Damansara, Selangor.
The day before, a 75-year-old man was found dead on Jalan Tengah here, believed to be the result of his motorcycle hitting a pothole.
Malaysian social media was lit after the JKR issued an apology and patched up a pothole after Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar fell while cycling in Banting, Selangor on December 27 last year and tweeted his pothole experience.
Many Malaysians accused the department of double standards, moving swiftly to repair the road only after a minister was involved.