Table the Genting Bus Crash Report in Parliament before the session ended

Accidents involving buses (EN)

Media statement by DAP National Political Education Director and MP for Kluang Liew Chin Tong on 3rd April 2014 in Kuala Lumpur

As the parliament session is coming to the end on next Thursday (10 April), I again 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 parliament sitting for a full debate by MPs.

According to my rough calculation, there have been 12 accidents which involving bus within 7 months after the Genting tragedy as at 31st March 2014. 13 were perished while 76 wounded-including 23 seriously injuries in the post-Genting accidents.

The Genting tragedy— the deadliest vehicle accident in the nation’s history—recorded 37 deaths and 16 injuries. Despite the death rate of post-Genting accidents is one-third compared to the former, but the injuries has increased 4.75 folds.

This is an alarming rate, in my humble opinion.

The above data are collected from the media report (See Annex 1). While many people rely on the bus as a mode of transport, the safety level is not satisfactory.

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.

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 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.

Before the parliament session opening (Mar 7), I have called the Minister to present the Report in parliament sitting for a full debate by MPs. I reiterate the call again before the parliament session ended.

Liew Chin Tong

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