The recent tragic bus accident on Sunday which claimed 12 lives is very sad indeed. It has affected many of us, more so for me as a frequent bus traveller between JB and KL being a weekend husband myself alternating between driving a car and travelling by express bus.
The Star carried the news here...Public demands explanation over senseless deaths
Utusan has the news among many here...'Rasa bagaikan kacang dalam botol digonchang'
I remembered those horrible Bus crashes that claimed many lives:
In 2007, 20 die in gruesome bus accident in Malaysia- Vehicle overturned, roof was ripped off and seats were flung into the air
Just last year In 2009 where many victims were decapitated by the guard rail...10 die in Malaysia Bus Crash
In all the accidents the blame game starts, every thing and every one is wrong, the reckless driver, faulty bus break mechanism, burst tyre, the express bus owners are irresponsible for pushing the drivers to the limits of exhaustion and even the guard rails are at fault, and the Ministry of Transport and Lembaga Perlesenan always say they will investigate. So far these investigations are unknown and the results are never made public, I don't know why but as road users we shouldn't we be informed. There should not be too much secrecy to protect the establishment from litigation or public ridicule.
The MOT minister say that an investigation to the latest crash will be thorough, I call on the Minister to make good his words and also make public the Ministry's findings and recommendation. I am asking how many more accidents does the Government wait to happen and how many more lives are lost before they start getting serious about it, I mean dead serious like enacting and passing Laws that governs:
1. How long a Bus Drivers is allowed to drive continuously per day before he takes a mandatory rest.
2. All drivers must pass a mandatory test conducted by the JPJ which will determine also their profile and aptitude, only those certified by JPJ as Bus Drivers can drive buses. We cannot have serial speed demons driving our loved ones in buses and endangering their lives.
3. Making it mandatory for all outstation buses to Have Electro mechanical speed limiters, modern buses are high powered monsters I have on few occasions at night being overtaken by a double decker express bus while I was driving at 120km/h and that is God's honest truth.
The Government, the MOT and even the General Public should visit this very well written article by an experienced driving instructor which was posted after the two horrible crashes in 2007 and 2009, the blogger Cikgu Yap, knows his onions MOT and the Government and everybody who cares should listen to what he has to say:
10 ways to reduce Bus Accidents; Some Ways & Means To Prevent Major Accidents Involving Buses From Happening.
Looking at the number of bus companies in Malaysia with different owners from different background and political affliations, I think there would be a lot of resistance by the many bus company owners to enact Laws to make Bus Travel safe because of the cost involved which will have to be passed to the ordinary public.
So I have a suggestion, forget a while about the costly high speed trains proposal from Singapore to Penang which will cost much taxpayer's money for the benefit of a few, and maybe the Government should move to consolidate all the Bus companies under just one or at most three mega bus consortium so that it could be better managed and the fundings be used to buy better structurally safer and stable buses and employ good drivers with better pay.
If the Government can act to consolidate the local Banking industry and limit it to a few anchor Banks to make the industry more efficient, then what is there to stop the bus companies from being consolidated into a few efficiently run bus companies like Transnasional or even Mara Liner or Plusliner.
All it needs is political will. What say you Minister of Transport Sir? Our Lives and the lives of our children are at stake here.
How many Parents do we want to see prematurely burying their children before the nation do decide to act holistically?