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Ops Sikap – Samy Vellu should pull up PLUS for poor  safety standards in  NSE upgrading works in the 70 km stretch between Seremban and Ayer Keroh  causing accidents and endangering lives

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

, Thursday): Today is the fourth day of “Ops Sikap 10” held in conjunction with the Chinese New Year on Jan 29 and 30  and Awal Muharam on January 31 – a 15-day operation from Jan 23 to Feb 6.

During “Ops Sikap 9” between Oct. 27 and Nov 10 last year during Deepavali and Hari Raya Aidilftri holidays, the number of road accidents rose 15.9 per cent to 13,462 cases compared with 11,609 in the year before.  The number of deaths also rose to 233 compared to 200 the previous year.

Road users have rightly been reminded to be road safety-conscious and advised not to be impatient as to  ignore traffic regulations in wanting to reach their destinations quickly. However, the responsibility of the authorities, whether concessionaires or the government departments concerned, to ensure safe  road conditions instead of causing accidents, has been overlooked.

DAP Perak State Assemblyman for Pasir Pinji, Thomas Su Keong Siong and his wife Jeanie Guok Jinh Lih, are  among the latest victims of poor PLUS safety standards in the upgrading of the North-South Expressway (NSE)  from Ayer Keroh to Serembah, widening the 70 km stretch into a three-lane dual carriageway.

Su and Guok suffered injuries when they had an accident at Ayer Keroh, (210 km) on Tuesday (24.1.06)   at about 7.15 pm on their way back to Ipoh from Johore Bahru after a court case.

Su was driving on the outer lane.  The car in front of him suddenly swerved to the left. When Su found that there was  a plastic traffic cone at the centre of the  lane, he could not swerve to the left as there was a lorry.  In trying to avoid the traffic cone, he crashed into the slab of  concrete road dividers to the right  put up for the median widening works.

I understand from the Alor Gajah police that since the PLUS upgrading works in the past few months, there had been a daily average of two reported accidents in the Ayer Keroh stretch of the expressway – which was not the case before.  The number of unreported accidents were probably even higher.

This is most irresponsible on the part of PLUS as well as the Malaysian Highway Authority which has the duty to ensure that PLUS meets the minimum safety standards in their upgrading works instead of being the cause of accidents, endangering life and limb.

During our trip from Kuala Lumpur to Malacca on Tuesday night immediately after we had been informed of Su’s accident and his hospitalization in Malacca Makhota Hospital, DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng, DAP MPs Fong Kui Lun (Bukit Bintang),  Tan Kok Wai (Cheras) and I  saw the dangerous condition of the traffic cones used for long stretches of the expressway.  In one instance, a traffic cone  had protruded onto the lane posing a grave traffic hazard. In fact, Guan Eng was himself victim the previous week, when he had a similar type of accident when driving back to Malacca from Kuala Lumpur in the early hours of one morning. His car had to be in the workshop for a week from the damage.

Works Minister, Datuk Seri S.  Samy Vellu should pull up PLUS for  the poor  safety standards in  NSE upgrading works in the 70 km stretch between Seremban and Ayer Keroh  causing accidents and endangering lives.

He should release figures on the number of accidents since the start of the upgrading works on the 70 km stretch from Ayer Keroh to Seremban.

As the NSE upgrading and widening works from Ayer Keroh to Seremban will continue until July/August 2007,  the 70-km stretch should not be accident traps for road-users.

PLUS should also bear full responsibility for the losses suffered, whether for personal injuries or damage to vehicles, as a result of accidents caused by such poor safety standards in the upgrading and widening of the expressway.


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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