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Safety in public transport: Kong Choy should take personal responsibility


Media Statement

by Fong Kui Lun

(Kuala Lumpur, Sunday): DAP is extremely concerned with the 10-hour failure of the Kelana Jaya Line Light Rail Transit (previously known as Putra Line) on Friday October 6, 2006, which is the fifth significant failure of rail-based urban public transport in this year.

DAP concurs with Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy that “two major failures within three month is just not acceptable” and calls on him to take personal responsibility to ensure no future break-down.


A train had stalled just before the Damai station and caused service to be
disrupted from 7.02am on Friday, leaving 35,000 commuters stranded. It took RapidKL for 10 hours to repair the failure.  In July, 1200 commuters were trapped in LRT trains for more than an hour.


The 29km Kelana Jaya Line commenced its operations in 1998 and carrying averagely 200,000 passengers daily. It uses a driverless system by Advanced Rapid Transit Mark II technology from Canada while the other rail-based systems are operated by drivers. 


While the system in place may have been state-of-the-art when it was imported in 1998, the lack of maintenance is having its toll eight years on.


DAP proposes that “rail marshals” equipped with skills to handle emergency stationed on all trains to avoid recurrence of the July crisis where commuters were trapped without any assistance.


The frequent failures are not only causing inconvenience and reducing confidence in public transport, at the time when the Government urges people to “change lifestyle” (by using public transport), it is practically threatening thousands of Malaysian lives on a daily basis.


Safety issue is not restricted to Kelana Jaya Line. I posted a question to Deputy Transport Minister Tengku Adnan in Parliament in August on safety in KL Monorail, which he has yet to reply.


If an emergency occurs in monorail, passengers cannot immediately exit because the monorail vehicle is high above ground and without emergency walkways. Our concern is that the Government and KL Monorail are not prepared for any emergency like fire. The scenario of monorail catching a fire is my utmost fear for public transport safety.

DAP calls on Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy to make safety in public transport his ministerial priority to prevent future emergency.


*Fong Kui Lun, DAP National Treasurer and MP for Bukit Bintang

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