(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The first day of Ops Statik III launched on Tuesday is bad and depressing news with no sign that the high toll of road accidents, injuries and deaths would drop.
In fact, the results of the first day of Ops Statik III should serve as a warning that the total number of road accidents and deaths for this year’s two Malaysian festivities, the Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Chinese New Year, is going to exceed those of last year.
In Ops Statik I last year, there were 9,901 road accidents and 274 road fatalities for the two festivities.
The Ops II last month during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year recorded 9,500 accidents and 203 deaths.
In the first day of Ops III on Tuesday to coincide with the balik kampung rush for the Chinese New Year, there were 568 accidents and 18 deaths.
This would mean that the number of road accidents for the
two festivities this year already exceed those recorded last year, although
the Ops III has only entered its first day, while the number of road deaths
for the two festivities this year would exceed those for last year
if there are another 54 road fatalities.
The Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik should convene an emergency meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Road Safety to develop an urgent strategy to ensure that the number of road deaths during this year’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Chinese New Year would not exceed last year’s toll - which means keeping the toll of road deaths for the rest of Ops III to below 54.
Can this be done? Even if the Transport Minister cannot ensure that the number of road deaths in the two festivities this year is less than those of last year, he must make a try.
The tragedy is that the Transport Minister has long lost interest in the national road safety campaign and is completely numb and indifferent to the road carnage with its toll of hundreds of deaths during each festivity .
This was why he could make cynical statements like:
Liong Sik must decide whether he wants to provide leadership in the Transport Ministry which he has led for 12 years, and if he is not prepared to do so, then it is time for him to step down and let a new Transport Minister with a new vision and new ideas as to how to end the road carnage in the country take over.