KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 24 — The bus crash in Muar that killed 14 people today signalled the authorities’ failure to implement safety regulations recommended by a state-powered panel in 2013, the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) said today.
Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, head of the safety group, said chances for such an accident to take place would have been limited if the relevant government agencies had more resolve to implement serious reform in road safety measures, including tightly regulating long-distance bus operators.
“This is all about law enforcement,” Lee told Malay Mail Online.
“We have to monitor just how effective the law enforcement has been. To deal with all these people you must have effective laws,” he added.
The Miros chief noted that up to now, many of the recommendations made by the Independent Advisory Panel to the Minister of Transport, following a bus crash in Genting Highlands on August 21, 2013, that killed 37 people, have yet to be implemented.
Lee said one example is the proposal to establish the National Transportation Safety Board.
Until today, the panel has yet to be set up, he said.
“What has happened to the Genting Highland’s crash (post-mortem) recommendations?
“We came up with 51 recommendations and one of the recommendations is to set up the National Transportation Safety Board. Even until now, after we keep reminding the government to look at it (it has not been set up)”.
Earlier this morning, an express bus skidded and plunged off a cliff in Muar, Johor, killing 14 people including the driver and a baby girl.
The incident, which also injured 16, took place at Kampung Jayo, Jalan Kangkar-Senangah, Pagoh at around 4am on Christmas Eve.
Lee said one of the problems is also the lack of effective deterrent laws.
“We need really strong deterrent laws...if something like that happens, those responsible should go to jail.
The Miros chief added that punishment should also be extended to the operators and not limited to the drivers.
He said the penalty should especially be harsher on companies which are repeat offenders.
Just this evening, Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi told the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to work with traffic police and PLUS Malaysia in investigations on the cause of the accident.
The incident in Johor is the worst involving buses since the 2013 Genting Highlands crash that killed 37 people.