The Genting Bus Crash Report should be debated in Parliament

Genting bus crash

Media statement by DAP National Political Education Director and MP for Kluang Liew Chin Tong on 7th March 2014 in Kuala Lumpur

I call on Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein to present the Independent Advisory Panel to the Minister of Transport Malaysia’s report on Genting Highlands Bus Crash at KM 3.6 Genting Highlands-Kuala Lumpur Road on 21 August 2013 (“The Genting Crash Report”) to the coming sitting of parliament for a full debate by MPs.

The Transport Ministry and the Cabinet must address the institutional and systemic failures that resulted in the Genting bus crash as proposed by the Independent Panel, as well as taking to task those named or implicated in the Report.

The Genting Crash happened on 21st August 2013 at KM 3.6 of the Genting Highlands-Kuala Lumpur road. It took 37 lives while 16 others were seriously injured. It is the worst vehicle accident in the country’s history.

I had previously called for the establishment of a royal commission of inquiry to look into the matter, as the Genting Crash must not be allowed to be another “act of God, no Human cause” tragedy.

In July 1988, when the Penang’s Sultan Abdul Halim ferry terminal bridge collapse happened, a Royal Commission of Enquiry chaired by Tan Sri Chang Min Tat was commissioned. There were 32 deaths in that incident. The Genting Crash took the lives of 37 persons.

In lieu of a Royal Commission, I would still like to commend the Advisory Panel led by Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye for its effort. The Panel’s Report was written professionally and was frank and alarming about its assessment of the state of road safety nationally.

The other members of the Panel include Dato Abdul Radzak Abd Malek, President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Malaysia; Datuk Dr. Marimuthu Nadason, President of the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations; Ir Choo Kok Beng, President of the Institution of Engineers Malaysia; Dato’ Ir Foong Choy Chye and Ir Aik Siaw Kong.

The Panel concluded that it is “deeply concerned that many issues are institutional and system-based, giving rise to the possibility that the problems are not isolated cases, but instead are the norms for the country.”

I am disturbed by the Minister’s rather weak response to the Report. Datuk Seri Hishammuddin had only stated that the Ministry would act on the advice of the Independent Panel to establish a National Transport Safety Board. While that may be a good move, the Ministry must not see the act of setting up a new agency as the silver bullet and continue to sweep the current malaise under the carpet.

In the days to come, I will comment on some of the findings of the Panel’s Report to highlight the need for national attention on the dire state of affairs of road safety arising from the concerns listed in the Report.

I strongly urge the Minister to present the Report in next week’s parliament sitting for a full debate by MPs.

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