Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bus Crash Bukit Gantang – No Accident; No Need MIROS - 5-STAR Drivers, Vehicles & Roads & Guardrail height; Aviation Codes to cut Road Fatalities

UPDATE:latest brief news Aug 19 07 12.22am

Another Near Miss Fatal Crash 4 am Saturday 18 Aug 07; 171.9 Km NS Expressway Near Tangkak Johore

Initial Report says it was a lucky escape, no fatalities. Only the bus driver and a woman passenger warded. Driver was reported to be speeding, lost control crashed into the railings and overturned into the ravine.
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August 18, 2007 21:37 PM
Two Warded After Bus Skids Into Ravine And Overturns
MUAR, Aug 18 (Bernama) -- Barely a week after the worst crash in the nation's history involving an express bus that killed 21 people, another 23 passengers nearly faced the same fate after a bus, driven at high speed, skidded and plunged into a three-metre ravine at Km 171.9 of the North-South Expressway near Tangkak today. A police spokesman said the incident happened at 4 am when the Ekspres Sri Maju bus, travelling from Kuala Perlis to Singapore, lost control and crashed through the guardrail on the left side of the highway before overturning in the ravine.
The bus driver -- Tajudin Shaari, 49, -- and a woman passenger -- Tan Yee Kian, 22, -- who sustained injuries on the heads and bodies, were rushed to the
Tangkak Hospital and warded. They were reported to be in stable condition. The other 22 passengers including three children and a German couple as well as the co-driver received out-patient treatment. Police have recorded statements from the passengers and are waiting to record the driver's to determine the actual cause of the crash, the spokesman said.
Preliminary investigations
showed the driver was believed speeding and reckless, causing him to lose control of the bus, he said. A passenger in her 30s who refused to be known, said the bus was driven at speed throughout the journey before it crashed.

"Most passengers were asleep when the bus overturned. Fortunately, motorists who passed through the area pulled over to help us out," she said. She said she was thankful to God for having escaped death especially after thinking of Monday's crash which was still fresh in her mind.
In the recent crash, at Km 229 of the North-South Expressway in Bukit Gantang near Taiping, the bus carrying 27 passengers, the driver and a co-driver was travelling from Melaka to Butterworth when it crashed through the guardrail and plunged into a ditch five metres below.

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August 18, 2007 21:39 PM

Free Eye Screening And Cataract Surgeries At THONEH
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 (Bernama) -- The Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital (THONEH) celebrates the nation's 50th Merdeka with 50 days of eye care lectures, eye screening and cataract surgeries for the public starting today until Oct 6.

Public transport workers and members of the public aged 50 and above will be entitled to a free eye screening worth RM70 on a weekly basis and free cataract surgeries for deserving cases. The public talks which will be held every Saturday kicked off with the talk on `Importance of eyesight for public transport workers' by Consultant Ophthalmologist Dr Zainal Mohamad at THONEH today. "Obvious symptoms such as blurring of vision, tired eyes, glare and star burst during driving shows that a driver suffers from a eye defect," said Dr Zainal in the talk. Those interested in attending other special forum may call Miss Patrina at 03-7956 1511 ext 194 or Miss Athiletchumi ext 215.

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August 18, 2007 22:43 PM
Student Who Mocked Negaraku Must Face The Music - Azalina

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 (Bernama) -- Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said (ABOVE) said the student who mocked Negaraku in a rap video clip should be punished. "He had gone overboard and must be punished as a lesson to others. Youths must act accordingly as they are the future leaders," she said when launching a Rakan Muda Lifestyle Carnival here today.
Azalina said what the Taiwan-based student did was
against the aspiration of the country which wanted a charismatic and patriotic young generation.
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Bus Crash Bukit Gantang – No Accident; No Need Miros 15-Star; 5-STAR Drivers, Vehicles & Roads &; Guardrail height; Aviation Codes to cut Road Fatalities

ABOVE: Malaysiakini first reported the crash on the same day at 10.52 am, details H E R E . As of 18th Aug 07, the casualty has risen to 21 when the three-year-old boy who was seriously injured in Monday's express bus crash at Km229 of the North-South Expressway near here died = = =

After the crash as usual they was a slew of knee jerk & on the spot suggestions to cut down more fatal accidents and finger pointing to apportion blame. The latest suggestion is from the director-general of Malaysian Institute of Road Safety (Miros) Dr Radin Umar Radin Sohadi who suggested his 15 -Star Plans - Five-star drivers, five-star vehicles and five-star roads that will take 20 years for results to be seen.. What exactly does this upstart Professor meant when he says 5-Star? What he has in mind is perhaps similar as in the classification of hotels. Everything first class and the fatal ones will go away. A simplistic approach and a one-dimensional physical understand of these so called accidents.

The Prime Minister (ABOVE) was the first to suggest the drivers must be able bodied and alert as pilots and Transport Minister quickly adopted the Safety, Health and Environment Code of Practices that is being used by the aviation industry. Is driving a bus as critical as piloting a plane?

The IGP asked for revival of the demerit point penalty system and now demerit points will be given immediately after a traffic offense has been committed.

And when Chan K C did a site inspection at the crash, he saw the Guard rails (ABOVE) and suggested they be raise from 0.6m to 1.37m along dangerous stretches on highways. Now what difference has this height to prevent bus from going down the ravine?

When Chan Kong Choy saw the bus roof ripped (ABOVE) off he insisted buses be built in accordance with the Economic Commission of Europe guidelines - detailed specifications on construction of the roof structure for commercial vehicles, minimises the risk of fatalities. Then the focus was on the drivers and he demanded additional competency refresher courses for commercial vehicle drivers be implemented with immediate effect. If all these measures are implemented, they can demand an increase of 50% of the bus fares to cover up all the additional costs

When the police in Taiping discovered the driver could renew his licence despite having 13 summonses, IGP asked the traffic police to explain and they in turn point the fingers to JPJ - licence renewals is under the JPJ's responsibility.

The Cabinet agreed for the permits of all vehicles belonging to a company to be suspended immediately even though only one of its vehicles was involved in a fatal accident and there was a hue and cry from the operators

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In the first place, we shouldn't call most unintentional injuries "accidents." as being practiced in the States. To do so implies that they are random occurrences that could not have been foreseen or prevented. Unintentional injuries (the preferred term) can be prevented, or at least made less likely by better road engineering, safer vehicles, lower speed limits, and abstention from drinking and driving. These improvements and others have led to continuing decreases in US death rates from all types of motor vehicle crashes, with one exception: those involving motorcyclists.
Deaths on motorcycles have increased 54% since 1997. Per mile traveled, the number of deaths on motorcycles is more than 25 times greater than that in cars. Much of this difference is due to the unique vulnerability of motorcycle riders because of motorcyclists' lack of visibility to other drivers. In a study, motorcyclists wearing any reflective or fluorescent clothing had a 37% lower risk of being involved in a crash than those not wearing such clothing. If the driver's helmet was reported to be white or light colored, the risk was 19% less. And use of daytime headlights was associated with a 27% decreased risk.

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When we are enlightened we see things from a higher stand point from a higher intelligence. We see nothing happens by ACCIDENT (ABOVE)or due to our own doing. Either we are victims in an unfeeling, unsensing, dumb, chaotic universe, and everything is the result of chance or accident; or we are masters of our fate. There is no in-between. Whenever you feel yourself powerless, then you think accidents just happen and that you have no control over them. The only answer is to realize that you form physical events, individually and en mass; you form the physical reality that you know. You make your own reality, or you do not. And if you do not, then you are everywhere a victim, and the universe must be an accidental mechanism appearing with no reason. So that the miraculous picture you have seen of your body came accidentally into creation, and out of some cosmic accident attained its miraculous complexity. And that body was formed so beautifully for no reason except to be a victim.

That is the only other alternative to forming your own reality. You cannot have a universe in between. You have a universe formed WITH a reason, or a universe formed WITHOUT a reason. And in a universe of reason, there are no victims and no CHANCE. Everything has a reason or nothing has a reason. So, choose your side! If you accept the possibility of the slightest, smallest, most insignificant accident, tthen indeed you belief a universe in which accidents are not the exception but the rule. Once you accept, you see, that idea, then if you follow your thought completely enough, you must accept the idea of a random accidental universe, in which you are at the mercy of any accident, in which mind or purpose have little meaning, in which you are at the mercy of all random happenings. You are not an accident and when we leave it was no accident either. Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He was not at all surprised by your birth. In fact, he expected it. Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you! Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death.

Death is therefore as creative as birth, as necessary for action and consciousness, in your terms. Rest assures that death is another beginning. A death is just a night to your soul. You had lived before and will live again,

God prescribed every single detail of your body. He deliberately chose your race, the color of you skin, your hair, and every other feature. He custom-made your body just the way he wanted it. He also determined the natural talents you would possess and the uniqueness of your personality.

God also planned where you’d be born and where you’d live for his purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose.

Nothing in your life is arbitrary. It’s all for a purpose.

God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything he creates. Every plant and every animal was planned by God, and every person was designed with a purpose in mind. God’s motive for creating you was his love.

Going hand in hand with the notion that avoiding accidents would avoid deaths imply also a lack of understanding of death. Death is greatly misunderstood as being the end of it all, of coming too soon, sporadically at the right time, not being justified, and all of it never, never having been created by the soul, let alone being respected as such. Death always seems to be something just out of your understanding, responsibility, control and power. This is completely inaccurate.

Death is transformation. Transformation from one way of being into another. A death is just a night to your soul.
No man or woman consciously knows for sure which day will be the last for him or her in this particular life, that each calls the present one. Mortality with its birth and death is the framework in which the soul, for now, is expressed in flesh. It seems, perhaps, easier to have no conscious idea of the year or time that death might occur. Unconsciously of course each man and woman knows, and yet hides the knowledge.

The knowledge is usually hidden for many reasons, but the fact of death, personal death, is never forgotten. It seems obvious, but the full enjoyment of life would be impossible in the framework, now, of earthly reality without the knowledge of death.
Life and death are but two faces of your eternal, ever changing existence, however feel and appreciate the joy of your own being. Many live into their nineties without ever appreciating to that extent the beauty of their being.

Whether you die today or tomorrow, you have lived before, and will again, and your new life, in your terms, springs out of the old, and is growing in the old and contained within it as the seed is already contained within the flower.

No one "dies" before his or her time. The choice , manner and time of death are always yours. When the soul is ready to release the body, when it has accomplished what it came here to do, it moves on. For most motorcyclist their daily dare devil stunts in reckless riding may reveal that they hold the strong belief that old age represents a degradation of the spirit and an insult to the body. Slow death in a hospital or an experience with an illness would be unthinkable to this group of people.

So what is their choice? They would prefer to choose the experience – the drama, even the terror when that occurs - to die young like a hero and leave physical life in a blaze of perception; battling for your life at a point of challenge, “fighting” and not acquiescent.
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August 18, 2007 10:18 AM

Miros' Target: Five-star Drivers, Vehicles, Roads; By Alan Ting

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 18 (Bernama) -- Five-star drivers, five-star vehicles and five-star roads. That's the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety (Miros)'s medium and long-term plans in cultivating good and safe driving habits among Malaysians to reduce road fatalities. Its director-general Dr Radin Umar Radin Sohadi (ABOVE) said: "We have looked at so many cases and without fail, we found the combination of three factors -- driver, vehicle and road -- as the cause of any road accident." Miros, set up in January this year, was given, among others, the task to carry out relevant research and establish cost-effective road safety intervention to enhance the current level of road safety.

Touching on Monday's worst road accident in which 20 people were killed and nine others injured when an express bus driver lost control of the bus and crashed it into a ravine at Km229 of the North-South Expressway, near Bukit Gantang, Taiping, Radin Umar said the accident could be minimised if the bus operator was more focused and appreciated safe driving aspects. "Accidents do happen but if you have a five-star bus driver, the impact of the accident could be minimised," he told Bernama here today, adding that was the reason why the cabinet decided to comply with the WP29 of UN-ECE regulations. The WP29 UN-ECE regulations is a global technical regulation by the United Nations aimed at harmonisation of vehicle regulations which cover a number of guidelines including the construction of quality bus roofs, undercarriage and bumpers.

Radin Umar, who has vast experience in road safety, said most bus operators were against the implementation of new safety regulations since they did not appreciate safe driving aspects in their fleet management system. "They look at it negatively. If we have CEOs (chief executive officers) who place importance on safety, then it would be part of the daily activities," he said. Thus, among the measures to be taken under Miros' campaign to instil safe driving, is reviewing the current driving curriculum to ensure greater emphasis on safety knowledge such as defensive driving skills, which is in the implementation stage as a pilot project.

"If this component is incorporated in the training, the drivers can demonstrate and appreciate safe driving which would make them good drivers. Hopefully, by the year end, we can come out with a good programme for it to be extended nationwide," he said. Radin Umar said Miros was also trying to educated Malaysians on the need to invest in safety equipment, apart from working with the government to make such devices affordable to the people. Lamenting public attitude for not taking safety seriously and preferring cheap safety devices, Radin Umar said: "Life cannot be subsidised. "Safety is not the people's main consideration. They want cheap stuff." He said Malaysians should try to acquire safety devices like airbags and child car seats to reduce road fatalities.

On the increasing number of road fatalities, he said currently on average, 17 people died daily in road accidents, with 10 of them motorcyclists. "There is a need for the public to regulate themselves as this is the best way to prevent fatal accidents, and not blame it on the government for lack of enforcement," said Radin Umar who was once a professor of road safety engineering at Universiti Putra Malaysia. Radin Umar who was responsible in setting up Miros, said Malaysia had put in place various laws to ensure people drive or ride safely within the speed limits, wear a safety belt or crash helmet, yet people flouted the rules. "But when a serious road accident happens, involving the loss of many lives, they are quick to blame government enforcement. "But we on our part, are not enforcing safety on ourselves. "No doubt the police and Road Transport Department have to enforce the law, but they should be focusing on the recalcitrants." While admitting that it would take some time for road safety to be a culture in Malaysia, he said efforts had been made towards this by introducing road safety education in primary schools this year. "This is our long-term solution. Perhaps we can see the results in 20 years' time," he said.

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August 17, 2007 22:31 PM

Demerit Points Immediately After A Traffic Offence

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 (Bernama) -- Demerit points will be given immediately after a traffic offence has been committed following amendments to the Road Transport Act 1987, expected to be tabled in parliament soon. Director-general of the Road Safety Department, Datuk Suret Singh said currently, traffic offenders would only be given demerit points after they had paid their fines. "Because of this, many offenders issued with several summonses still don't see their demerit points increasing or have none at all," he told reporters after launching the Federal Territory-level mobile road safety exhibition here today. The exhibition is an on-going campaign under the Malaysia Road Safety Plan 2006-2010, which among others, aims to reduce the number of fatal road accidents by 50 per cent. Suret Singh said amendments to the Act would help to improve the Road Safety Demerit System (Kejara) which had been said to be inactive now.

Traffic offences that could earn demerit points include reckless or dangerous driving (15 points) and failing to control moving vehicle (8). He said such cases like the driver of the express bus which recently crashed into a ravine, near Bukit Gantang, who had 15 traffic summonses and two arrest warrants against him but no demerit points, would not happen again. The driver, Rohizan Abu Bakar, was among 20 people killed in the mishap on the North-South Expressway on Monday.

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August 16, 2007 20:29 PM

Let JPJ Explain - Bukit Aman Traffic Chief

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 (Bernama) -- "The explanation can only be obtained from the JPJ (Road Transport Department)," Bukit Aman Traffic Chief SAC II Hamza Taib said Thursday. He was responding to a question by Bernama on how the "Super Ekspres" bus driver who was involved in Monday's accident, in which 20 people were killed and nine injured, could renew his licence despite having 13 summonses and two arrest warrants in his name. Police had informed the JPJ about the matter, Hamza said. "Usually, each summons issued by the police has nothing to do with the JPJ. Police only inform the JPJ about it for further action. "The move to disallow licence renewals is under the JPJ's responsibility," he said. Bernama has not been able to contact the JPJ director-general to get his answer

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August 16, 2007 17:50 PM
CVLB To Issue Guidelines On Suspension Of Commercial Vehicle Permits

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 16 (Bernama) -- The Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB), in collaboration with the Transport Ministry, will issue a set of guidelines on what needs to be done in suspending the permits of commercial vehicles involved in fatal accidents. Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the guidelines were necessary so that the CVLB was not perceived as being cruel when it suspends commercial vehicle permits.

"When an accident occurs and many lives are lost, how is the suspension of permits to be effected? "To me, like what we are doing now, we suspend. After that, it is up to the owner to tell us why its licence should not be suspended," he told reporters after opening a seminar on business matching here today. Yesterday, the Cabinet agreed for the permits of all vehicles belonging to a company to be suspended immediately even though only one of its vehicles was involved in a fatal accident. This follows Monday's accident at Bukit Gantang, near Taiping, described as one of the nation's worst, in which 20 people aboard an express bus were killed and nine injured. Khaled said the company could furnish strong evidence why the permits of its other vehicles should not be suspended. "If not, we would not know. It is difficult to investigate. "The company should show that its other buses are not involved; its other buses are in good condition; and its workers have undergone medical examinations. Only then we will consider lifting the suspension," he said. On a claim that Syarikat Kenderaan Bukit Gantang, said to own the "Super Ekspress" bus that was involved in Monday's crash, ceased operations 10 years ago, Khaled said: "This is the first time I heard about it but I will investigate."

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August 16, 2007 01:01 AM
Operator Of Death Express Remains A Mystery

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 (Bernama) -- Syarikat Kenderaan Bukit Gantang Sdn Bhd (SKBG), said to own the express bus that was involved in a crash killing 20 people at Km 229 of the North-South Expressway near Bukit Gantang in Perak on Monday, is shrouded in mystery.

Efforts to trace the owner led to nowhere. Bernama was told that the company was registered in 1987 and initially operated in Jalan Tupai, Taiping, as one of the biggest express bus companies in Perak but it seized operations 10 years ago. A source said that since 1997, the company has not submitted any reports to the authorities including the Companies Commission and stopped making employee contributions to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF). Despite that, its bus operations are running as usual using permits leased out to another firm, he said. He said SKBG's bus operations presently run by Perkhidmatan SJ Enterprise whose address is No. 219, Taman Sultan Abdul Halim, Jalan Tunku Bendahara, Alor Star. SKBG's headquarters in Jalan Tupai, Taiping, is now a shop selling souvenirs since the past several years. Employees of other express bus companies said SKBG has a workshop about one kilometre from its Jalan Tupai headquarters but a check by Bernama found that the premises is used by YT Deluxe Coach Builder Sdn Bhd.

A worker met at the workshop said YT Deluxe only repairs and builds coaches and has nothing to do with SKBG's bus operations. However, Bernama saw several red buses with "Yakin BG" and "Bukit Gantang Ekspres" written on them at the workshop. Based on a national daily's report today, Bernama also visited a workshop at No. 209, Mergong 2, Seberang Jalan Putra, Alor Star. The workshop was said to be the depot for "Super Ekspres" buses -- one of which was involved in Monday's fatal crash. However, the workers refused to talk. "Enough. We don't know anything. This is not a bus company. It only repairs buses," said one of them. He said the depot belongs to YT Deluxe Sdn Bhd and gave its owner's name as Yip who was said to be overseas. A newspaper today reported that one of SKBG's board of directors is Yib Ha @ Yip See Khow. Bernama also went to the address in Jalan Tunku Bendahara, Alor Star, where SJ Enterprise was said to be operating and found that it was a house.

A woman who came out of the house told Bernama to go away. Efforts to find the four SKBG directors based on addresses kept by the Companies Commission also failed after the occupants said they did not know them. At the Shahab Perdana Bus Terminal in Alor Star, the counter that used to sell "Super Ekspres" bus tickets was closed. Meanwhile, Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) chairman Datuk Markiman Kobiran said the board had traced SKBG's office in Taiping and a staff had sent a letter to terminate the operations of its 38 buses temporarily following the crash. He said many express bus firms have failed to inform the CVLB about their change of address as the fine for not doing so was only RM300. "We can take action but because the fine is too low, it will have no effect on them," he said. Efforts to detect cheating was not only difficult but took time because the CVLB presently handled 400,000 express bus permits of which 360,000 were for buses in the peninsular, he said.
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August 15, 2007 21:54 PM

Aviation Industry-like Safety Code For PSVs - Chan

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 15 (Bernama) -- The Transport Ministry today ordered public transport vehicle companies to immediately adopt the Safety, Health and Environment Code of Practices that is being used by the aviation industry. Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said they are required to draw up self-regulatory policies and programmes that gave top priority to passengers' safety as practised by airlines worldwide. This include hiring and testing of public service vehicle drivers, he said. Adopting the foolproof code would ensure public transport operators lodge reports with the Road Transport Department (JPJ) if any of their drivers were issued summonses for traffic offences, he told reporters.

Chan said the Cabinet, in its weekly meeting today, agreed to the enforcement of the code following Monday's fatal accident at Bukit Gantang, near Taiping, described as one of the nation's worst, in which 20 express bus passengers were killed and nine injured, some in critical condition. He said the code, drafted under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 1994, outlines guidelines and procedures for employers to ensure their employees' safety when discharging their duties. "It also protects third parties directly or indirectly involved in the line of duty. Currently, only multinational companies are practising the code systematically," he said. Following the accident that shocked the nation, the Cabinet also decided that all commercial vehicles, particularly buses, are built in accordance with the Economic Commission of Europe guidelines. The guidelines, containing detailed specifications on construction of the roof structure for commercial vehicles, minimises the risk of fatalities when vehicles rolled over during accidents. "This also means building of buses must be endorsed by qualified engineers first before registration of the buses are approved," he said. Chan also said the ministry had recommended for improvements be made to the highway guardrails based on investigation findings on previous major accidents and from initial investigations on Monday's crash. He said a comprehensive plan must be drawn up to upgrade existing guardrails and new ones to the minimum Test Level (TL) 3 standard for ordinary roads and TL 6 for killer stretches. Chan said the Cabinet also agreed to suspend permits of all vehicles of a public transport company if one of its vehicle was involved in a fatal accident. He said the suspension would be imposed based on the company's track record and a full audit was conducted on the company's fleet of vehicles. Chan also said that if a public transport vehicle failed the Puspakom tests for three consecutive times, the vehicle's permit must be suspended for a month. The Cabinet also agreed for the additional competency refresher courses for commercial vehicle drivers be implemented with immediate effect. "Apart from all these measures, the ministry also wants to amend the Road Transport Act 1987 to enforce the demerit point system on public vehicle drivers who do not pay their fines or turn up in court to answer traffic charges. "Under the old law, we can only issue demerit points after the driver pays his summons. We will amend the Act to provide for demerit points to be issued even if a driver doesn't settle his summons or turn up in court for a traffic offence after the stipulated time," he added.

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August 15, 2007 21:44 PM

Niosh, Fomca Support Call For Public Inquiry On Road Accident

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 (Bernama) -- The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) and Fomca have supported a call for the setting up of a public commission to investigate accidents involving public transport. Niosh chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the move would be an important effort to enhance the level of road safety in the country. By having the commission, all parties involved in the public transportation system would be more responsible and follow all the existing rules, he told Bernama today. "It is important for all parties to play their roles and enforcement to be intensified so that road safety will not be looked at lightly," he said commenting on the proposal by a newspaper columnist. Awang Selamat wrote in his "Bisik-Bisik" column in Utusan Malaysia today that a public commission should be set up to make an open inquiry on accidents involving public transport. This follows Monday's incident where 20 people died after an express bus crashed through the railing on the side of the North-South Expressway in Bukit Gantang and plunged into a ditch five metres below. Fomca president Datuk N. Marimuthu said the public commission would be crucial to ensuring transparency in the investigation into a particular crash involving public transport. "We need the commission to ensure the public know what really happen in the investigation and so that things can be rectified," he said. "In this case (Monday's crash), the bus driver had 15 traffic offences including two arrest warrants. In this case, surely many people want to know who should be blamed," he added. Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) director-general Prof Dr Radin Umar Radin Sohadi, meanwhile, disagreed with the proposal and said that the commission was not needed. "This is because Miros that was established only seven months ago, has carried out its inquiry objectively and scientifically," he said. The outcome of its investigation had been submitted to Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy, he said.

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August 15, 2007 20:56 PM

Samy Vellu Orders For Higher Guardrails At Dangerous Stretches

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 (Bernama) -- Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu today ordered to raise the height of guardrails along dangerous stretches on highways, federal and state roads in a move to reduce fatal accidents. He said highway concession companies can immediately start work to raise the height of guardrails from the present 0.6m to 1.37m.

The directive to highway concessionaires would be issued by ministry secretary-general Datuk Syed Jamal Syed Jaafar, he told reporters after launching the ministry-level 50th Merdeka Month celebrations. Samy Vellu said higher guardrails were needed as the present ones could not withstand the impact of crashes by huge vehicles like buses and lorries. "The height of the current guardrails is only two feet (0.6m) while the height of a bus is more than nine feet (2.7m). "In the event of an accident, the lorries or buses will not only crush the guardrails, but also cause other bigger problems. By raising the height, the guardrails can help avert tragic accidents," he said.

As to the cost to install higher guardrails, Samy Vellu said it would be borne by the concession companies. "For the North-South Expressway, PLUS Bhd will bear the cost, while the Public Works Department (PWD) will foot the bill for federal roads and state governments will take care of state roads," he said. On problematic projects, the minister said the PWD had completed 542 such projects while two projects are being revived. He said the ministry took various measures to revive and rehabilitate problem projects including appointing new contractors. "Sometimes contractors appeal to the ministry and promise to change their work attitude. When we give them a second chance, they will complete their projects," he added. It is understood that the two "sick" projects being revived are in Kedah and Pahang.

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August 15, 2007 00:09 AM
Transport Ministry To Revive, Enforce Strictly Demerit Penalty System

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 (Bernama) -- Tomorrow's weekly meeting of the Cabinet is to study a proposal from the Transport Ministry to revive the demerit penalty system for drivers and enforce it strictly. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said today he would table the suggestion at the meeting. The demerit penalty system, under which drivers lose points for traffic offences and eventually cannot renew their driving licence, was enforced poorly after it was introduced in 1997, and subsequently shelved. Chan spoke to reporters after attending a meeting of the MCA Central Committee here.

Earlier in the day, in Putrajaya, he had chaired a meeting held following the country's worst road accident yesterday in which 20 people were killed when an express bus plunged into a five-metre deep ditch at Km229 of the North-South Expressway near Bukit Gantang in Perak. The meeting was attended by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and representatives of the Road Transport Department (JPJ), Road Safety Department, Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB), Puspakom Sdn Bhd, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety (Miros). Chan said the meeting considered a suggestion for a database to be established of all bus drivers so as to detect any errant drivers among them, especially those with summonses or warrants of arrests in their name.

It was also suggested that bus drivers be sent for refresher courses every two years, he said. He said there was also a proposal to expand the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 to cover the transport industry, whereby the ministry would work with the Human Resources Ministry in implementing the new ruling to create a safer and healthier working environment in the industry.Chan said the ministry was also considering a suggestion that all express buses only operate up to 10pm.

= = == =August 14, 2007 21:23 PM
More Rigid Conditions In Selection Of Drivers

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 (Bernama) -- The Transport Ministry is to tighten the conditions pertaining to the selection of drivers following a rise in road accidents.

Deputy Transport Minister Tengku Azlan Sultan Abu Bakar said today the tighter conditions on drivers of commercial vehicles like lorries and express buses had been enforced. Among the conditions is that drivers of express buses are not allowed to drive for more than eight hours at a stretch and each bus should have two drivers. Yesterday, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said all drivers of commercial vehicles would be required to undergo special training with immediate effect to improve their efficiency.

This followed the accident yesterday in which 20 people were killed when an express bus plunged into a ravine after crashing through the guardrail at Km229 of the North-South Expressway near Bukit Gantang in Perak. Tengku Azlan said the ministry would expedite investigation into the cause of the accident. He suggested that for long-distance travel, the public should use the train service as it was safer. "The government will promote the train service to reduce the number of road accidents in the country," he told reporters after launching an exhibition on railway development in Malaysia at KL Sentral. The exhibition, which begins tomorrow, is organised by transport operators including Keretapi Tanah Melayu, RapidKL, Express Rail Link, KL Monorail and Semasa Sentral, in conjunction with Malaysia's 50th Merdeka anniversary celebration.

In conjunction with the celebration, Express Rail Link is giving away 100 free KLIA Ekspres tickets to those born on Aug 31. Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) Chief Executive Officer Dr Aminuddin Adnan agreed with Tengku Azlan that the train was a safer mode of transport. "For example, the ERL has a system which requires the driver to push a safety button every 30 seconds to ensure that he does not fall asleep. If the button is not pushed during that interval, the train will stop automatically," he added.

= = == = August 14, 2007 15:58 PM

Revive Demerit Point Penalty System To Punish Errant Drivers – IGP

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 (Bernama) -- The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan, Tuesday called for the revival of the demerit point penalty system to blacklist negligent vehicle drivers who caused fatal accidents. The country's top cop said the system was the best deterrent to reduce road accidents and to instil fear in drivers not to "gamble" with people's lives. "We enforced the demerit point system before but it was not managed properly. If the system can be reintroduced, I'm sure it will have a positive impact (on government's efforts to reduce road fatalities). "To implement the system, the police need the cooperation of the other authorities. Therefore, the police cannot comment much on this," he told reporters after presenting a working paper at the 2007 National Assets and Facilities Management Convention. Musa's call comes in the wake of one of the country's worst road accidents yesterday in which 20 people were killed and nine others injured when an express bus driver lost control of the bus as it was going down an incline and it crashed into a ditch at Km229 of the North-South Expressway, near Bukit Gantang, Taiping, early yesterday. The bus driver, Rohizan Abu Bakar, 37, who were among those killed, had 13 traffic summonses, some still unsettled, and two warrants of arrest against him for a slew of traffic offences.

The 20-year-old bus, bound for Alor Star from Melaka, also had 19 summonses, and did not even have the permit to ply the route. The bus company, Taiping-based Syarikat Kenderaan Bukit Gantang Sdn Bhd, has been ordered to cease operations immediately. By having in place a foolproof and systematic demerit point system, Musa said errant vehicle drivers committing too many traffic offences can be kept off the road by revoking their driving licence. Under the demerit point system, a driver, committing a traffic offence will be slapped with demerit points based on the severity of the offence. "For instance, if a driver causes an accident, he will be given a certain number of demerit points and if he continues to collect demerit points for committing traffic offences, his driving licence will be cancelled," he said. The government had incorporated the Motor Vehicle Procedures (Demerit Points) 1997 under the Road Transport Act 1987 but the system was ineffective due to lack of strict enforcement.

"We should look into this matter seriously. The best solution is to blacklist vehicle drivers who have a bad traffic offences record. They cannot renew their driving licence. They are causing trouble to everyone. "If the demerit point system is enforced strictly, drivers with many traffic summonses will be dealt with seriously. The police are ready to cooperate with the relevant authorities to realise the demerit point system," he said. Musa also said he had ordered for an explanation from the traffic police why no legal action was taken against the express bus driver who was involved in yesterday's accident. "He had 13 traffic summonses and two warrants of arrest against him, I want to know from the traffic police why no action was taken against him despite being aware of his bad traffic record," he said. Worse still, the Super Express bus, being used since 1987 and had four times failed the brake tests by Puspakom (privatised commercial vehicles inspection centre) and had been summoned 19 times by the police since 1991.

It also had 79 summonses issued by the Road Transport Department (JPJ) over the last five years, he said. "Initial investigations suggest the accident occurred due to the negligence of the driver who was speeding as there was no traces of braking along the road leading to the crash site. "He may have dozed off or probably he was tired. We will investigate the crash thoroughly," he added.

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ABOVE: Malaysiakini screaming Headline story HERE

MORE PICS – Gunning of MCA Ching Eng Wah - Padang Serai MCA Youth vice-chairman; Not related to Party or Politics Claimed MCA Sec Gen Ong Ka Chuan

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August 18, 2007 12:53 PM

Slaying Of MCA Youth Leader Not Over Politics - Ka Chuan

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 (Bernama) -- MCA believes the murder of Padang Serai MCA Youth vice-chariman Ching Eng Wah is not over politics or internal party problems, party secretary-general Datuk Ong Ka Chuan said today. "We don't believe it is related to the party or politics, definitely not. We have more than 1.1 million members who come from a diverse background. "We will let the police to investigate," he told reporters after opening the 32nd Wanita MCA assembly at Dewan San Choon in Wisma MCA.

Ching, 43, who was an aluminium frame supplier and had business concerns in Padang Serai and Sungai Petani, was shot dead execution-style at a traffic junction (BELOW) in Padang Serai yesterday. Witnessing the horror was his wife Low Mui Keow who was seated beside him in their silver Mercedes-Benz.

The couple was on their way home to Taman Melati after having breakfast in Padang Serai town when two men on a motorcycle pulled alongside the driver's side at the Jalan Padang Serai traffic light and shot Ching in the head through the right window. He died while being rushed to the Metro Specialist Hospital in Sungai Petani. Police believe the motive could be revenge or business rivalry.

Ching suffered the same fate as Lunas state assemblyman Dr Joe Fernandez, who was shot dead when he stopped his car at a traffic junction in Bukit Mertajam town, in November 2000. Earlier, in his speech, Ong said MCA wants to increase its women membership, particularly women below 35 years' old. He said the party's wanita membership was 427,814 against men's 694,369, with a difference of 266,555. "Of the 427,814 women members, 119,422 are under 40, comprising 27.9 per cent of women members and 10.64 per cent of the party membership," he said. He said this indicated vast potential for improvement in women's membership and hoped Wanita MCA would recruit more young members.

= = =

MCA Youth leader gunned down

PADANG SERAI: Padang Serai MCA Youth vice-chairman Ching Eng Wah, 43, was shot dead execution-style at a traffic lights junction here yesterday. Witnessing the horror was his wife Low Mui Keow who was seated beside him in their silver Mercedes.

The couple were on their way home at 8am after having breakfast in Padang Serai town when two men on a motorcycle pulled alongside the driver’s side at the Jalan Padang Serai traffic lights and shot Ching in the head through the right window. Ching suffered the same fate as Lunas state assemblyman Dr Joe Fernandez, who was shot dead when he stopped his car at a traffic lights junction in Bukit Mertajam town in November, 2000. Low called her brother Boon Lai, 37, while still remaining in the blood-soaked car. Boon Lai, Ching’s son and their worker rushed over to take Ching to the Metro Specialist Hospital in Sungai Petani. However Ching was pronounced dead on arrival.
Kulim Deputy OCPD Deputy Supt Ghuzlan Salleh said police have classified the case under Section 302 of the Penal Code. Kedah Wanita MCA chief Datuk Lim Bee Kau said there was a worrying trend of criminals being daring, to the extent of committing murder in broad daylight. Shot in the head: Ching Eng Wah, who just had breakfast with his wife. “It worries me that such a vicious murder can take place in a small place like Padang Serai. “The prevalence of crime such as this requires some drastic measures by the police. They should check how weapons could be easily obtained,” she said, adding that more police patrols were also required.
Kedah MCA Youth chief Boey Chin Gan said Ching was an active party member who was also the division’s branch Youth chairman. He said Ching, who was an aluminium frame supplier and had business concerns in Padang Serai and Sungai Petani, had been with the MCA for eight years.
Ching leaves behind a 14-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old son. His body was taken to the Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital mortuary for a post-mortem.

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Sunday STAR, August 19, 2007 Stick to the Constitution

MALACCA: The MCA Youth has pledged to defend the sanctity of the Federal Constitution to ensure a united and progressive society that allows the freedom to practise one’s religion. Movement chief Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said the spirit of the Constitution must be preserved for a long time for the sake of the future generation and the document must be the reference point. “Whenever there is a conflict of opinions about a situation we are not comfortable about, we should refer back to the Constitution,” he said during his speech at the opening of the movement’s annual general assembly. Liow said it was not MCA’s culture and certainly not the MCA Youth’s, to wave a sword when making a point. “If we wanted to wave something, why not a handphone? A handphone signifies communication and can also be said to promote understanding. We in the MCA Youth rather wave the Federal Constitution,” Liow said as he held out a copy of the document. His entire central committee then stood up and waved copies of the country’s supreme law to loud applause from the floor. Party deputy president Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy opened the assembly which was held at the Pay Fong Middle school hall here yesterday. Liow reminded the delegates not to take lightly the unity which had been enjoyed since independence but instead strive to not only preserve but also to strengthen it. “We must appreciate the unity and remind ourselves of the spirit behind our Federal Constitution, which is full of spirit of solidarity, natural justice and goodwill.” Quoting Perak Raja Muda Raja Nazrin Shah, Liow said the integrity of that document must be protected at all costs and that many misunderstandings may be avoided if the principles embodied in the Constitution were adhered to strictly. “We should not pressure others or to cause tension but instead promote the culture of open-mindedness and always be ready to engage in healthy discourse. “In the Barisan family, we are brothers, there is no master and slave, there is no question of who is being scared of whom or who should kowtow to whom,” Liow added to applause. He said the authorities should do away with labels like ‘Muslims and non-Muslims’, ‘bumiputras and non-bumiputras’ among Malaysians to eradicate racism and advocate the spirit of ‘rakyat Malaysia’. Liow also revealed that the Education Ministry had allocated RM14mil for Chinese primary schools under a four-year adoption programme by MCA Youth. He said the move was to upgrade the quality of education in Chinese primary schools to a higher level that was comparable to international standards


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