Ministry of Transport has disappointed Malaysians in failing to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe Malaysia’s deadliest bus crash in Genting Highlands on 22 August 2013

Ministry of Transport has disappointed Malaysians in failing to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe Malaysia’s deadliest bus crash in Genting Highlands on 22 August 2013
The Ministry of Transport (MoT) has once again let Malaysians down by failing to act decisively in Malaysia’s deadliest bus crash which took 37 lives and injured 16 others. Investigations into the 22 August 2013 incident found that the bus was on the JPJ blacklist and the driver had received 16 summons.

MoT is aware that lackadaisical enforcement and slipshod regulations are fertile breeding ground for incidents such as this to repeat itself.

During the winding up debate of the Supply Bill 2014 in the previous parliament session, I had suggested that the MoT should establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the circumstances surrounding the Genting bus tragedy.

The MoT written reply, which I received yesterday, showed a lack of seriousness in tackling the issue. In its one-paragraph reply, MoT merely stated that the establishment of RCI “is under the jurisdiction of Agong as stipulated in the Section 2 (1) Commission of Inquiry Act 1950.”

At the risk of stating the obvious, I wish to point out that the onus is upon the MoT to submit the proposal for consideration, as the Agong establishes the RCI upon the advice of the government.

In July 1988, when Penang’s Sultan Abdul Halim ferry terminal bridge collapsed, an RCI was formed and chaired by Tan Sri Chang Min Tat. There were 32 deaths in that incident. Does not the Genting incident, which took the lives of 37 persons, warrant an RCI?

This is an issue of public safety and national interest, given that Malaysia’s alarmingly high road accident statistics call for deep concern and proactive action. It is disturbing to note that the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) ranks traffic accidents as the fifth leading cause of death in this country.

To demonstrate seriousness in tackling Malaysia’s notorious road accident rate, Acting Minister of Transport Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and the government should re-open investigations into the Genting tragedy that claimed 37 lives. An RCI should be commissioned into the incident and independent foreign experts should be called in to assist.

Liew Chin Tong

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