Sunday, October 31, 2010

Karak bus crash: Blacklisted driver had no licence for past 13 years

The Star Online

In Baling, families of the seven victims who were killed claimed that the ill-fated bus was not the one promised by the bus company and was not in good condition.

KUALA LUMPUR: The bus driver involved in Friday’s bus crash that killed seven passengers has held no driving licence for the past 13 years, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.

In fact, he had held only a learner licence in 1997. After that, he was blacklisted, Kong told Sin Chew Daily on Saturday.

“What makes me angry is that the bus operator had employed a driver without a licence.

“This driver must be charged in court and his employer must take full responsibility,” he said, adding that the ministry had constantly advised public transport companies to ensure all drivers had valid licences, were in good health and a clean driving record.

Kong also ordered the Road Transport Department to investigate the track records of the driver and the bus operator and work with other related authorities to take them to court.

On Friday night the bus skidded and overturned at KM38 Genting Sempah killing seven and injuring 39 others

Selangor Public Order and Traffic Chief Supt Che Husin Omar said Saturday the Road Transport Department (JPJ) had confirmed that the driver did not have a valid driving licence, Bernama reported earlier.

"The driver had initially admitted to police that he had a driving licence but when JPJ conducted a search, it was found that he did not have one," he told Bernama when contacted here Saturday.

Che Husin said the driver, who suffered a broken right leg and was currently receiving treatment at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, was detained for further investigations.

"He will be investigated under Section 41 of the Road Transport Act 1987, for reckless driving and causing death," he said.

Che Husin said police would be inspecting the black box and also investigating whether the driver had any past record for traffic offences or driving without a licence.

The ill-fated bus, with 44 youths aged between 14 and 25 from several villages in Baling, Kedah, was on an educational trip and had left Kedah at 11pm Thursday and arrived in Genting Highlands at 8am Friday.

At 7pm Friday, the group left Genting Highlands for Kampung Melayu Subang to participate in a homestay programme but was involved in the accident.

During the accident, seven people were killed, 17 seriously injured while 22 others escaped with minor injuries, including the two bus drivers.

Meanwhile, in Baling, families of the seven victims who were killed claimed that the ill-fated bus was not the one promised by the bus company.

Family members, when met in Kampung Baru, Mukim Siong were disappointed with the bus company for failing to keep their promise of providing a bus that was in good condition.

Mustaffa Ibrahim, 60, said the family accepted the destiny of his child, Mohd Fahmi, 17, because it was fated but expressed disappointment after realising that the bus company had provided a bus that was not in good condition.

"They were promised a bus that was good but we only realised that it was not the bus that the company provided for the tour," he said when met in his house here Saturday.

Those who were killed were Mohd Zaidi Mohd Sufian, 28, a religious teacher, Mohammad Amirul Mohamat Isa, 13, Mohamad Khairy Mohamad Marzali, 14, Mohamad Yussof Akhil, 16, Mohamed Firdaus Rosedi, 16, Mohd Fahmi Mustaffa, 17, and Mohd Ridzuan Husin, 17.

Mustaffa, an Imam in a local mosque, said all seven who died were related to each other and urged the authorities to enforce strict measures to ensure such incidents do not recur.

Husin Hamid, 54, the father of Mohd Ridzuan who was also killed, said those responsible for the accident must be dealt with by the authorities.

Meanwhile, Baling Umno division secretary Abdullah Sani Mahmud said the Youth and Sports department would handle matters related to bringing the bodies of the death to Baling.

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