Sabah and federal authorities should first ensure that state roads are in good condition before indulging in road-safety campaigns.
KOTA KINABALU 8/11/2012: Sabah roads may not be suited for the expensive and controversial Automatic Enforcement System (AES) which the government is planning to install nationwide to reduce road accidents.
A Sabah MP pointed out that the poor infrastructure and conditions of roads in the east Malaysian state should be addressed first before the expensive AES project is implemented.
“It is pointless for the government to spend a huge sum of the taxpayers’ money to install such a sophisticated system, when in the first place it can’t even provide a good and safer road for the people to drive on,”
said Kota Kinabalu MP Hiew King Cheu.
“We all know that our roads are bad, unsafe, not up to the required standard and in many places it is a killer.
“A West Malaysian engineer once told me that he can’t understand why the Sabah roads are having so many ‘Handy-plast’ (bitumen patches) and he could not find a road that was level, smooth and built to the correct specifications. This just shows how unsafe and bad the Sabah roads are,” he said.
Hiew, a civil engineer himself, cited the numerous road accidents occurring along a major highway here that was poorly designed with multiple turn-offs and where on-going work was taking place.
The busy stretch which is often unlit like many highways in the state, he said, had been the scene of several spectacular accidents with vehicles “flying over to the opposite lane and ramming into on-coming cars”.
“Why can’t the authorities, the ministry and the minister see this? Don’t blame the drivers always. Look into the reason on what caused the accidents.
“Has the ministry ever considered installing a central crush barricade to prevent the cars from crossing over? In Semananjung, this has been installed at many parts of their roads. Why not Sabah roads?” he asked.
Unlit road stretches
Hiew was responding to a statement by Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan who is also the Minister of Infrastructure Development that the state government supported the installation of the AES.
If approved, up to 32 of the units will be installed along highways in the state that have a heavy concentration of fast-moving traffic.
Critics say the state and federal authorities should first ensure that state roads are safe and in good condition before indulging in road-safety campaigns to remind motorists to drive safely.
They point to how long stretches of Sabah’s highways even in the state capital are unlit and vehicles left parked with impunity on road verges, dividers, traffic islands and pavements at all times of the day and night posing a danger to traffic and pedestrians.
Motorists have also complained of extraordinary long delays in completing work along highways and how piles of construction materials and machinery are left haphazardly along roadsides by public works contractors with little regard for safety.