“Thunder big, raindrop small” outcome of Cabinet meeting on road carnage which kills 16 persons and maims or injures 125 people in a daily accident rate of 570 crashes in the past 10 years a great letdown and Ministerial failure
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): “Thunder big, raindrops small” sums up best the public reaction to the outcome of the Cabinet meeting yesterday on the road carnage in the country, especially after the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had expressed his outrage and shock at the high accident and fatality rates during the recent Hari Raya holidays.
All that came out of the Cabinet meeting
yesterday was the post-Cabinet announcement by the Transport Minister, Datuk
Chan Kong Choy that his ministry had been tasked to implement two Cabinet
decisions - to limit the number of driving hours of commercial vehicle
drivers and to make it mandatory for them to undergo specialised training
before obtaining their licences.
Are the other 199 deaths in the 12-day Hari Raya holidays of no consequence as compared to the 14 deaths in the horror crash in Pahang, because the latter had greater publicity impact? Are the Ministers motivated only by media publicity and indifferent to the criminal waste of the colossal and avoidable loss of human lives, human sufferings of the maimed and wounded as well as the great economic costs to the country in the other 199 fatalities because they are little publicized individually?
In the past 10 years from 1993 to 2002, there had been 2,081,243 traffic accidents, 57,453 fatalities and 454,442 injuries/disabilities, which work out to 15.7 people killed, 124.5 people maimed/injured, and 570 accidents every day in the past 10 years.
These figures are derived from the following traffic accidents/fatalities/injuries data in the past decade from the National Road Safety Council:
These horrific figures should shock not just Ministers but all Malaysians, and there must be the political will to end the completely preventable road carnage.
The new Transport Minister, Chan Kong Choy will be guilty of a gross negligence of Ministerial duty if his only response to the daily toll of 16 people killed, 125 people maimed or injured, and 570 crashes in the past 10 years are the two announcements he made yesterday.
The Malaysian people have the right to expect a higher standard of Ministerial responsibility and care for the their safety and welfare as well as concern for the national interest and to demand an effective road safety plan to end the road carnage on the Malaysian roads.
As a first step, declare the road carnage as a national crisis, which requires not just media attention during the national festivities, but daily coverage and focus to end the criminal avoidable loss of human lives on the roads.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman