Thursday, December 23, 2010

Knee-jerk Response

I am saddened by the senseless deaths of 25 Thais and 2 locals when a double-decker tour bus overturned at Cameron Highlands on its way back to Kuala Lumpur recently.

The Star newspapers reported today that an independent board of inquiry will be set up to investigate the bus crash.

This is the infamous knee-jerk approach to tackling problems that we have been adopting all these years.

We have seldom, if ever, been proactive. We only act after the fact.

A sad indictment. But true.

We want the government to be proactive in looking after the people's welfare.

We don't want the government to mouth beautiful sounding slogans lile 1Malaysia, people and performance first, when the reality may be otherwise.

After all, just a week or two ago, a prison bus plunged into a ravine in Sabah, killing 4 prison officials.

And in October of this year alone, there were 2 other bus crashes involving a total of 20 deaths and many injured!

It does not take a genuis to know that a double-decker bus is unstable because of its low center of gravity.

We should not try to emulate the famous London double-decker buses.

I believe that in London, the roads are better maintained and enforcement of the laws strict where even the Prime Minister's son or the Queen's children could and have been known to have been hauled up by the police for commiting traffic offences.

Here, even in the K.L city centre, the roads are often uneven and bumpy.

Try taking a drive along Jalan Ampang. You will be forgiven if you thought that you were taking a ride on old rickety bus because the road is that bad!

Here in Malaysia, some bus drivers, especially the inter-state bus drivers, have been known to be on drugs while driving !

What have we seriously done to resolve the problem?

Precious little, until the next tragedy when another board of  enquiry......

Ho, ho.....how nice!

I am also saddened to read of the Thai ambasssdor saying that he would leave it to the families and survivors of the bus crash as ot whether or not to sue the bus company.

Unfortunately here in Malaysia, life may not be worth very much especially if the deceased victims were not working at the time of the accident or were aged 55 and above.

The present state of the law in Malaysia is such that it has become known among the legal fraternity as the infamous 10 + 2 case! i.e Rm10k for bevereament and Rm2k for funeral expenses!

That's how much a life is worth in Malaysia sometimes!

Meanwhile, my heart grieves for the families and survivors of the bus tragedy which could have been avoided if the authorities had taken proactive steps to ensure that double-decker buses are not allowed on hilly terrains.

To the rest of us, the deaths are just stastistics.

To the families of the victims and survivors, the pain and sense of loss is real and immediate. 

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