Will the road carnage  for the Hari Raya/Christmas/New Year/Chinese New Year holidays be equal to two to  three times the death toll for the  Bali terrorist  bombings which killed some  200 people on Oct. 12?

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The death toll for the Hari Raya holidays exceeded the death toll of the Bali terrorist bombings on Oct. 12 which killed some  200 people. 

During the recent Ops Sikap III which was conducted between Nov 29 and Dec. 13, police recorded an increase in the number of accidents with 12,239 accidents – an average of 816 accidents daily and 285 fatalities or more than the casualties of the Bali terrorist  bombings.


There was world-wide horror, revulsion and condemnation at the loss of some 200 innocent lives in the Bali bombings, but the 285 avoidable and unnecessary deaths on Malaysian roads  in the 15 days  spanning the Hari Raya holidays failed to elicit the outrage needed to end such carnage  but merely the stereotype and perfunctory  outpouring of concern recycled year-in-and-year out over  the high incidence of holiday traffic acccidents and deaths which are immediately forgotten the very second they are made  by government leaders!


But one person stood out in the road carnage which is  worse than the Bali terrorist bombings by his sheer indifference and disinterest when he should be most concerned – the Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, in a shocking display of Ministerial incompetence, irresponsibility and negligence.


As Transport Minister, Liong Sik should be the most visible Minister to spearhead the campaign for road safety and turn the tide against every major national festivity becoming a national massacre  worse than the Bali terrorist bombings – but he was in fact  the most invisible Minister on this issue as  he had    long lost interest  as evident from  his cynical statement four  years ago:

"We have done what others have been doing around the world. In spite of numerous road safety campaigns the number of accident cases have been increasing.


"What else can we do, if people want to die?" (Sun 4.2.1998)


If Liong Sik can  convince himself  that “people want to die”, then this  is the  perfect justification for his utter indifference and disinterest about the mounting road carnage during national festivities and this may also be the  reason why the Cabinet Committee on Road Safety under him had disappeared from public vision, unheard in the  past few years as if it had “given up the ghost”,  when it should be the leading agency  to cut down the road carnage during festive seasons!


The question all Malaysians must ask is whether  the road carnage  for the current  Hari Raya/Christmas/New Year/Chinese New Year holidays  will be equal to two to  three times the casualties of the  Bali terrorist  bombings which killed some  200 people on Oct. 12?


The Cabinet should appoint a new Cabinet Committee on Road Safety with a dynamic Chairman who has  not  “psycho-ed” himself into believing that “people want to die” and  run out of ideas as to how to reduce road accidents and deaths to stop the road carnage at every national festivity.


As a wake-up call, the government should release the annual data of total number of traffic accidents and deaths during the national festivities from the year Liong Sik became Transport Minister in 1986, which will show that the longer Liong Sik is Transport Minister the more people die on the roads every year!


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman