Yesterday, scaffolding for the under-construction Damansara Shah Alam Highway (DASH) collapsed and injured two workers. Luckily, there were no deaths this time. DASH’s developer is Prolintas.
This scaffolding accident is the third highway-related accident this year.
On 3 March, a trailer crashed into metal scaffolding at the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Expressway (SUKE), causing an unfinished bridge to collapse onto a moving van. Two died and three were injured.
On 22 March, a crane working on the SUKE highway collapsed, killing three people. Prolintas is the developer for Suke.
So, when will the Prolintas chairman hold his press conference? When will he tender his resignation? Three accidents is one accident too many.
Senior Works Minister, Fadillah Yusof, should NOT escape our scrutiny. Both he and the Transport Minister, Wee Ka Siong should resign. Our roads and rails are not safe. Too many work related accidents, too many excuses, and no-one is found to be responsible.
Over the decades, when something goes wrong, no Minister has apologised unreservedly, held their heads in shame and resigned.
Worse still, many academics and a majority of the respective bodies which represent the particular industry say nothing. Their periok nasi is more important.
Here’s a quick overview of Malaysia.
Tabung Haji almost went bankrupt – No-one was found guilty
MAS requires massive bailout – No-one was found guilty
Proton requires massive bailout – No-one was found guilty
Perwaja went under – No-one was found guilty
Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) RM12 billion scandal – No-one was found guilty
MAS disappeared – No-one was at fault
Last month’s LRT train crash – No-one was found guilty
Yesterday’s scaffolding accident – highly likely that no-one will be found guilty.
Here are the 12 reasons for Wee to resign, or be sacked.
It took a major accident and several injuries before the flaws in Malaysia’s LRT incident were exposed; but will we ever learn from our mistakes? I doubt it.
Wee’s pathetic and vague press statement on 10 June was confusing. He said that blame should not be apportioned to anyone. Then, with great irony he urged the public to have greater confidence in the LRT.
Why should any of us have any confidence in the LRT network, or any proposed high-speed rail links in the future?
Would he have been as minimalist in his explanation if there had been deaths in the LRT crash?
First. Wee said that the driver (of the empty train) and the controller at the Operation Control Centre (OCC) had “overlooked” and “missed critical procedures” when attempting to guide the empty train to a “re-entry” point near the Dang Wangi LRT station.
Why can’t he speak simple English and clarify his ‘very complex’ sounding terminology? What precisely, was “overlooked”? Who did the “overlooking”? Similarly, who “missed critical procedures”? What are the “critical procedures”?
Perhaps, Wee wants to blind us with too much science.
(Shockingly, no-one was found responsible)
Second. Wee said that it was not the aim of the investigation committee to apportion blame or liability to any party.
This is very convenient. There was an accident, but no one is at fault. Try telling the parents of a teenager who got pregnant that no one was at fault.
However, Wee’s subsequent explanations point to a massive management failure. They should resign and Wee should also go, or be sacked.
Third. The controller at OCC should have been on alert to what was happening along the track but appears not to have noticed anything on his screen.
So, was Wee reluctant to say that the controller was on a ‘makan’ break or that he was asleep on the job?
If we cast our minds back to the disappearance of MH370, it took an investigation by foreigners to establish that the air traffic control supervisor was asleep and the air traffic controller was hesitant to wake his boss to alert him to what was registered on his radar screen.
Fourth. Was the driver left to his own devices, and was he trying to figure out how to guide the train on his own because he had no help from the controller at the OCC?
Is the driver’s training inadequate? Perhaps, he needed a refresher course? Did the driver ‘overlook’ and miss ‘critical procedures’?
What happened to the lines of communication, in other words, was there no radio link between the driver and the OCC? Why not? Did a malfunctioning radio show up in previous maintenance checks?
Fifth. Wee said that the “manual route reservation (MRR)” system was used to hold Train 81, with its 213 passengers. Meanwhile, Train 40 was “lifted prematurely” and this resulted in Train 81 departing from the KLCC station and colliding with Train 40.
What is the simple English for “premature lifting”? Did he mean to say that someone failed to go through the full checklist of “dos and don’ts”, and this is what set the two trains on a collision course?
So, why was the lifting done “prematurely”? Was the controller’s attention diverted? By what, or whom?
Sixth. Automated trains have in-built computer-aided warnings and protective, fail-safe devices. Why were these not deployed? Were they disabled and if so, why?
Seventh. If we were to follow Wee’s logic that no one is to blame, no one was responsible for the crash, how does he expect investor confidence in the country and public confidence in the public transport system?
This is just another example of failing to lead and failing to punish those who are wrong.
Our ministers who steal from the taxpayers, who are corrupt or who break strict coronavirus SOP rules, are found guilty but still retain their jobs. Ministers who do wrong, are rewarded with their perks and position.
Wee can expect more accidents to happen because no one will be held responsible.
Eighth. Our experience of fatal bus crashes tells us that there is no political will to ensure there is zero tolerance for accidents.
There is a lack of enforcement, the ‘tidak apa’ attitude is well established and for a section of society, the belief that the tragedy happened because it is God’s will, is too strong to eradicate. Blame the ulama and some Malay leaders for the last factor.
Ninth. Wee should list the names and job description of the people who were in the investigation committee. This is to ensure that we have competent and skilled people who know what they are talking about. Members of the public have a right to know this.
Tenth. Wee said that he briefed the cabinet on the 23 recommendations made by the investigation committee. So, what are these recommendations? Tell the public what they are.
Shouldn’t these recommendations be made available to the opposition MPs, so that they too can suggest ways and means to improve the public transport sector?
Members of the cabinet are driven around in their chauffeured ministerial cars, and the traffic on clogged roads is cleared for them. Most of them are clueless and won’t know if the LRT recommendations are good or not.
Eleventh. A few of these recommendations were published in another paper, but these are measures which anyone would think are already included in any company’s regular maintenance regime; steps such as refresher courses, the buddy system (working in pairs), or regular audits on the system.
People who work in a highly technical and automated environment, where safety is paramount, are familiar with many of these measures.
So, when the investigation committee put forward these recommendations as “new and necessary”, it gave rise to the suspicion that regular maintenance is not being carried out by Prasarana.
Is Prasarana guilty of other shortcuts or cost-cutting measures, which have compromised the safety of the passengers, employees, and network?
The twelfth reason for Wee’s resignation, is yesterday’s scaffolding accident on the DASH highway.
(NB: After last month’s LRT accident, the investigation committee came up with their recommendations. However, looking at some of the recommendations suggests to me, that many of the measures they wanted implemented immediately are basic standard safety procedures.
So, was Prasarana NOT performing regular checks and doing safety audits on the network, on a regular basis?
Wee claimed that no-one was going to apportion blame. So, in other words, an accident happened, there were several injuries, but NO-ONE is at fault. No Minister. You are wrong. You are at fault. The responsibility lies with you.
A committee makes recommendations. Wee as the minister in charge, must decide based on the scienfitic evidence provided by the committie.
Instead, Wee chickened out. He does not want to upset his political masters, who need to appease a sizeable percentage of the community. Both he and Mahiaddin are aware that if he were to be removed, Mahiaddin’s razor-thin majority is put at risk.