The appalling state of our commercial vehicles

Are our commercial vehicles really safe even after undergoing mandatory safety vehicle inspections? Recent media reports have cast doubts over safety inspections and exposed the appalling state of our commercial vehicles.

The directive from the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to operators of commercial vehicles to re-register their vehicles has opened a can of worms.

It is becoming apparent that there are countless illegal road transport operators. To register with SPAD and be legalized also means that vehicles have to pass vehicle inspection by Puspakom. However, according to statistics more than 4,000 buses have skipped vehicle inspections, making them unfit to be on the road and they are believed to be still in operation.

But that does not mean that those buses which have passed the tests are genuinely roadworthy? It has been alleged that vehicle operators change critical safety parts of their vehicles to good ones before sending their vehicles for inspection. After the inspection is successful they replace those parts with the defective old ones.

On the other hand motorists have alleged that results of inspections by Puspakom were manipulated. With this state of affairs whom can we trust and how can passengers feel safe in our buses?

Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) calls on the transport authorities to take a tough stance and weed out this scourge in the transport industry. Puspakom inspections should be truly trustworthy and the vehicles passed by them should be really roadworthy. Both Puspakom and the vehicle operators have to be monitored by the authorities and penalized severely for non-compliance with procedures.

Letter to the Editor, 27 July 2011