COMMENT An independent advisory panel to the transport minister was established to evaluate and review the investigation report after the Genting Highlands-Kuala Lumpur bus crash incident in 2013 that was recorded as the worst fatal crash in Malaysia.
The panel then submitted its report with 51 recommendations to the transport minister in January 2014. Subsequently, the cabinet instructed all recommendations to be carried out by all the agencies identified by the panel which requires action from 16 agencies and stakeholders.
In this regard, the Transport Ministry has been working closely with related agencies to ensure the recommendations are being implemented accordingly. Out of that, action has been taken on 22 measures under the ministry’s jurisdiction, while the remaining measures are being implemented by related agencies.
Towards this end, the Transport Ministry has mandated all new-model buses manufactured effective from January 2015 to be installed with Speed Limiter Devices (SLDs), in line with United Nation (UN) Regulation 89. However, the unfortunate bus in the recent tragic Muar crash was manufactured and registered in 2013 based on a 2010 approved model, hence, it was not mandatory to be fitted with a SLD at that point in time.
The ministry is continuously looking into the mechanisms to improve compliance with regulations to further strengthen their effectiveness. Recommendations on compliance of the construction of public service vehicles with UN Regulations 36, 52, 66, 80, and 107 were enforced under the Vehicle Type Approval (VTA) process between 2007 and 2012.
The Safety Star Grading (SSG), the star rating programme initiative for bus operators, has been introduced since 2013 by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) on a voluntary basis as part of the recommendations from the panel. The legal framework for the implementation is currently being thoroughly examined, whilst SSG is being carried out on a voluntarily basis.
The ministry’s Logistic and Land Transport Division is given the mandate to carry out a comprehensive audit of the entire chain of public service of vehicle design, construction, approval and inspection procedure. The audit shall include record-keeping of relevant agencies. The new audit will be carried out and reported in first quarter of 2017.
The ministry is currently in the process of establishing the Malaysian Transport Safety Board (MTSB) as recommended by the Advisory Panel to execute the function of independent and transparent investigation on major safety incidents, research for recommendations to improve safety, monitoring and evaluation of safety initiatives of all modes of transport.
I have instructed my ministry and Miros to monitor the implementation of all recommendations outlined by the panel. I have also instructed relevant agencies under the ministry’s purview to report the status and the progress of the implementations of related recommendations.
The Transport Ministry will make public the status of the report on respective implementation via the official websites of the related agencies from time to time.
LIOW TIONG LAI is Transport Minister.