Last Wednesday, 29th December 1999, I referred to the statement by Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that at the first meeting of the new Cabinet the Prime Minister had directed Cabinet Ministers to carry out their duties with collective responsibility, loyalty, efficiency and dedication as well as to be "hands-on" in their work.
I had said that the Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik however had shown that he was not a "hands-on" Minister but even worse, was a "hands-off" and "minds-off" Minister in his utter indifference to the 73 road deaths in six days of "Ops Statik IV", although he should be the Cabinet Minister who should be most concerned about the mayhem on our roads.
Liong Sik has continued his "hands-off" and "minds-off" charge of the
Transport Ministry while the death toll for the twelve days of Ops Statik
IV has almost doubled to climb to 130, with twelve deaths on Monday - the
third highest since the operation was launched on Dec. 23.
Even the Prime Minister had been moved by the holidays road carnage to caution drivers yesterday that their own impatience on the road could be a potential killer during trips home to celebrate the upcoming festivals.
Mahathir said arriving safely at their destination 10 minutes late would make much difference than not arriving at all, out of impatience and recklessness.
Such an advice is not going to reduce the road carnage but at least
it showed the Prime Ministerís concern at the totally unnecessary and avoidable
death toll on the roads - while Liong Sik as Transport Minister continues
to be "hands-off" and "minds-off" when he should be devising a new strategy
to cut down such criminal waste of human lives and costs on the roads.
It was reported today that Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Bhd's (Proton) is aiming to achieve a zero-accident rate among its staff with its overall safety programme comprising training and safety awareness.
Proton chief executive officer, Tengku Datuk Mahaleel Tengku Ariff said its biggest campaign success so far was reducing the fatal motorcycle accidents among its staff from seven cases in 1996 to three last year.
The overall motorcycle accident rates were also reduced from 25 cases in 1996 to 14 cases in 1999. However fatal car accident rates involving Proton's employees increased to three last year from one in 1996.
Speaking at the launch of prudent driving campaign during the festive season yesterday, Mahaleel said the company had also conducted advanced riding and driving courses for its over 2000 employees to improve their riding and driving skills.
Proton and Mahaleel should be commended for the campaign to promote
zero-accident rate among their staff - a campaign which the Transport Minister
should be promoting for the country.
I seriously propose that Mahathir take over the Transport Ministry as the country cannot afford a "hands-off" and "minds-off" Minister, and may be appoint Mahaleel to be responsible for launching a national campaign to promote if not a zero-accident rate at least slash the road fatalities and accident rate by 50 per cent in 12 months.