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Bring SPAD under Transport Ministry to help cut road deaths, says DAP MP

According to a Bloomberg report recently, Malaysia has 23 road deaths per 100,000 people annually. — Malay Mail picAccording to a Bloomberg report recently, Malaysia has 23 road deaths per 100,000 people annually. — Malay Mail picKUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — The Transport Ministry should absorb the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) as part of “institutional changes” to help reduce Malaysia’s traffic fatalities, DAP’s Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong said today. In a statement, Liew stressed that the Transport Ministry should be more accountable for reducing road deaths, which he said were comparable to less developed economies than Malaysia. “The minister of transport should be made to bear full political responsibility of such tasks and be made accountable to the Malaysian public regularly,” Liew, who is the DAP National Political Education Director, said.

“Malaysia’s high road accident rate should be a wake-up call about the seriousness of the issue, we must act urgently beyond blaming drivers’ attitudes and building expensive infrastructure,” he added. Liew suggested a series of institutional challenges in dealing with the problem of road deaths, starting with placing SPAD under the Transport Ministry and not the Prime Minister’s Department. “The safety of the road users and improvements to public transport should be the most important political and policy agenda of transport minister,” he said.

Liew also called for the power to manage public transport to be devolved to state governments so that these are allowed to plan and manage the sector. He also wanted local authorities to be more empowered in town and city planning to ensure priority is given to bus-based public transport system. According to a Bloomberg report recently, Malaysia has 23 road deaths per 100,000 people annually.

The numbers are close to the average road annual road deaths for low income economies, at 24.1 deaths per 100,000 people. The average for middle income economies is 18.4 deaths per 100,000 people, and 9.3 per 100,000 people for high income economies. “Usually, when the road death figures are announced, Ministers or Ministry heads will start to talk about ‘Ops Sikap’-type campaigns and wax lyrical about road safety, as if the only party to blame for road accidents were the road users,” Liew said.

“I disagree.

Road deaths are due to policy failure, in particular the failure to present a comprehensive and reliable public transportation system,” he added.



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