Malaysia to make seat belts compulsory on new express buses

KAJANG • Malaysia will be making it compulsory for all new express buses to be installed with seat belts and CCTVs by 2020 as part of its efforts to help reduce fatal accidents on the road.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said on Monday that a series of activities and events to increase the awareness of Malaysians about road safety will be launched next year before the rules and regulations are enforced in 2020, the Chinese-language Sin Chew Daily reported.

Mr Loke was speaking at the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) in Kajang, Selangor, after a handover ceremony of an independent review panel’s report on safety recommendations related to a 2013 accident in which a bus dived into a ravine in Genting Highlands. The crash killed 37 people.

Mr Loke also warned that passengers in the back seat of private cars must buckle up or risk a fine. He said: “The law (requiring back seat passengers to use a seat belt) has existed since 2009, but according to Miros’ statistics last year, less than 10 per cent of passengers in the back seats of private cars buckle up.”

Other proposals in the panel’s report included ensuring all buses come equipped with a brake retarder system and a speed limiter gadget.

“We discovered that many buses are not installed with retarders, so I have instructed the Road Transport Department to monitor this,” Mr Loke was quoted by Sin Chew Daily as saying, warning that a failure to install the device will cost the affected drivers their driving licence.

A Malaysian Transportation Safety Board will also be set up to address road accidents, especially those involving express buses, the Bernama news agency reported.

Mr Loke said the establishment of the body was among the suggestions raised in the Recommendation Review Panel report. He said the review panel was jointly chaired by Transport Ministry secretary-general Saripuddin Kasim and Miros chairman Lee Lam Thye.

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