(Penang, Tuesday): The utter indifference of the Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Ling Sik is bordering close to being criminal with the toll of road deaths climbing to an all-time high for both festivities this year.
Another 14 have died on the roads on the sixth day of Ops Statik III, bringing the total number of fatalities to 102 since the operation was launched on February 9. Another 124 people were injured, 33 of them seriously. There were 562 reported accidents, bringing the grand total of the number of road accidents in the first six days of Ops Statik III to 3,579.
When we take into consideration Ops Statik II during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri last month, which recorded 9,500 accidents and 203 deaths, this means that the number of road accidents and deaths for the two festivities of Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Chinese New Year this year have well exceeded those recorded for the two festivities last year, i.e. 13,079 accidents and 305 deaths this year compared to 9,901 accidents and 274 road deaths recorded last year although the Ops III has only entered its sixth day. .
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad should direct Liong Sik to end his utter indifference to the high toll of roads deaths during the two festivities this year or appoint a new Transport Minister.
I find it most shocking and regrettable that there are those in high places who are trying to take advantage of the sufferings of the people as represented by 13,079 road accidents and 305 deaths during the two festivities this year to justify unfair highway tolls and unfair toll increases, urging greater use of the highways rather than the trunk roads.
In fact, the highway toll-road companies should bear a responsibility for the high incidence of the accidents on the trunk roads as the exorbitant highway tolls have driven many motorists to use the trunk roads to avoid paying the unfair tolls.
The reduction of highway tolls should be considered as one way to reduce the high incidence of road accidents and road deaths in the country.