The Sun - 04.11.2010
KUALA LUMPUR: There have been 193 deaths from accidents involving buses in the past four years, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha told the Dewan rakyat yesterday.
However, he said this was only a small percentage of the 25,841 road fatalities recorded from 2006 to last year.
He said measures taken to prevent road accidents were adequate and effective.
"The strategies and plans implemented by the government have bean fruitful and the number of deaths due to road accidents has dropped despite the increase in the number of vehicles, drivers and travelling distance.
"The number of deaths per10,000 vehicles has also declined from 418 cases in 2005 to 3.55 cases in 2009, and number of those injured due to road accidents have dropped by 42% in five years since the formation of the Road Safety Department," he said.
As such, Kong said there was no need to set up a royal commission to probe the many accidents involving express buses, including the latest incidents at Genting Sempah and Simpang Ampat.
Replying to the debate on a motion to discuss fatal road accidents involving express buses, he gave these figures:
●39 deaths from bus accidents out of 6,287 road fatalities in 2006;
●75 deaths (1.19%) from bus accidents out of 6,282 road fatalities in 2007;
●48 deaths (0.74%) from bus accidents out of 6,527 road fatalities in 2008; and
●31 deaths (0.46%) from bus accidents out of 6,745 road deaths last year.
Kong said although fatal accidents involving all kinds of buses formed only a small percentage of the total road fatalities, the government had not treated the matter lightly.
Er Teck Hwa (DAP-Bakri) tabled the motion to discuss the many fatal road accidents involving express buses since 2005. He proposed the setting up of a royal commission to look into the matter and consider the salary of express bus drivers, maintenance of buses and enforcement.
Kong said for all serious road accidents involving buses, the relevant authorities including the Road Transport Department (RTD), police, Health Ministry, Works Ministry, Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research and Puspakom will carry out investigations.
"They will identify the cause of the accidents from various angles. This is followed by taking legal action against those responsible based on existing laws and taking appropriate measures to improve the situation," he said.
He added that based on analysis on buses involved in accidents, there were many contributing factors including competency of drivers, weaknesses in the bus operators' administration, ineffective enforcement and weaknesses in the public transportation system.
He said road safety had always been among the government's priorities and a five-year road safety plan was devised in 2006 outlining nine strategies and 52 programmes to make Malaysian roads safer. He also said the responsibility to ensure our roads were safe was not only in the hands of the government but also the automotive industry, road users and the community.
On enforcement, he said there were two types, namely on matters relating to permits which were handled by RTD and CVLB and those relating to vehicles and drivers handled by RTD and police.