A commentary by Shahrim Tamrin
July 6, 2019
THE latest incident involving a standard six school kid in Kelantan while travelling on a school bus, breaks my heart.
He was standard six school boy, . He was our hope for a better Malaysia for the future.
He could be the future Imam of a State Masjid, he could be the nation’s rocket scientist, a future CEO or probably a tech entrepreneur like Steve Jobs who would provide jobs to many locals in the future.
He was on his way to an academic workshop to improve his English, to seek knowledge which would have equipped him for the big stage in the coming years.
His death was avoidable and totally unnecessary. I am, for one, who won’t be accepting the golden excuse that the road death involving a boy, who could possibly be our future Prime Minister, as fate.
Adam’s death could have been prevented. Enough is enough on senseless death. The message is clear. The public wants all government agencies to start working in one direction.
It is time for the authorities such as the Land Public Transport Agency, Road Transport Department and/or Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department under the Royal Malaysian Police to get their act together.
Authorities should start sending zero-tolerance messages to all commercial transport and public transport operators that they must ensure the vehicles under their care are in good condition and roadworthy before starting a journey.
Transport operators must not undermine or compromise the integrity of the vehicle that could pose safety risks to passengers while travelling.
In the past, after a crash that killed or hurt many lives, we often heard a repeated claim by bus or lorry drivers about brake failures, for example.
Over and over again, we heard stories from drivers about the inability of the brake to cope with the overloading or due to poor maintenance of the vehicle.
To ensure a heavy vehicle is roadworthy, I would like to throw a question – is that the responsibility of the driver?
My take – it is not the job or sole responsibility of the bus driver to ensure the bus floor isn’t a ‘black hole’ or the brake is in working condition. Those in the transport business are aware it is largely the responsibility of the vehicle owner or in this case, the transport operator.
If the authorities were to haul up the bus owner or bus company in court for a safety violation, this will be the first time in history that a transport operator will be charged for alleged negligence. This is how authorities could provide justice for Adam and his family.
For the longest time, not even once the authorities brought a commercial transport provider to court due to a road crash. I repeat, not a single vehicle owner – company or operator – has been charged in court in the aftermath of poor vehicle condition that contributed to mayhem on the road.
However, if the driver of the bus to be charged as it has been the standard practice all this while, that will not be acceptable. I must say the death of a 12-year-old two days ago wasn’t due to driver’s fault.
It wasn’t a road crash or reckless driving or due to impact by crashing into other vehicle or hitting a tree or flying over a guard rail.
A standard six boy died due to a hole on the bus floor, for Pete’s sake! So, who is responsible for that?