Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Another Construction Site Accident Due to the Usage of Poor Temporary Structures

Such shock and disappointment we feel that another building under construction has had one of its floors collapse. Just like the incident in Alor Gajah 2 months ago, the temporary structure holding up the floors (that had not yet set) was not strong enough. It was reported that weak recycled items were used as the temporary structure. Why did the contractor decide this was the best way to go?

Stop the motorcycle deaths

Motorcyclists are the most vulnerable road users owing to the instability of the vehicle as well as the little or no protection afforded during an accident. This coupled with the attitude of motorcyclists and lax enforcement has created a national disaster on our roads. Neither the authorities nor the people are sensitive or serious about the situation. Deaths on the roads become mere statistics to them.

Each year on an average there are about 465,000 road accidents resulting in nearly 7,000 deaths. Sixty percent or 4,200 of the deaths are contributed by motorcyclists and 40% of that are motorcyclists in the age group of 16 to 25 years.

Traffic law enforcement should not be seasonal

Year after year we have Ops Sikap, now changed to Ops Selamat, to stop the carnage from our road crashes during our festive seasons. Malaysia was ranked 20th globally for the most road deaths in 2011, according to the World Health Organization. Eighteen people are killed daily in road crashes and according to the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), the figure is expected to rise to 29 by 2020.

According to the traffic police chief, Mohd Fuad Abdul Latiff, the previous Ops Sikap didn’t work because the police advised the public to drive slowly, don’t jump queue and be patient. Ops Selamat, however, is about total enforcement. He cautioned that enough warnings have been given and on-the-spot action would be taken against errant motorists. Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP), welcomes the strict enforcement and hopes to see a positive reduction in road crashes this Hari Raya.

 However, traffic law enforcement should not be seasonal. Strict enforcement must be an on-going, not a seasonal ritual to coincide with festivals.

Adopt zero tolerance for road crashes

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CAP is deeply saddened by the recent spate of bus crashes and that the Malaysian authorities are unable to stop the killing on our roads. The authorities are plainly inept and irresponsible in their “inability” to stop our road carnage.

 About 19 people are killed in the 1,267 road crashes that happen in Malaysia daily. If this does not warrant drastic emergency and comprehensive measures, we don't know what else will shake up our authorities from their complacency. We need measures that will work to stop the road killings now. If road deaths are given the same media and public scrutiny as flight MH370, we are sure the authorities will be awakened and forced to act. The loss of lives from road crashes is equivalent to a loss of flight MH370 every 12 days.

A radical approach to road safety is badly wanting

The number of road deaths in Malaysia is steadily climbing, despite the government spending millions and creating multiple agencies to tackle the issue. According to police statistics, the number of road deaths has increased from 6,286 in 2003 to 6,877 in 2012 while the accidents went up from 298,653 to 462,423. We have got our thinking, data systems, organizational infrastructure, policies and programs all wrong and unless we set them right we will continue to see increasing tragedies on our roads.