Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang and Assistant Political Education Director for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) on the 24th of November 2017
Question to Dato’ Seri Liow Tiong Lai – What happened to the Malaysian Transportation Safety Board (MTSB) that could have been tasked with investigating the accidents involving KTM cargo trains?
Yesterday was the third major train derailment for the KTM service in the Klang Valley in the past three months. This most recent derailment involved a 12-coach cargo train which derailed between the Bank Negara and Kuala Lumpur KTM Komuter stations. Repair works are expected to take three days before regular services can be resumed. On the 23rd of September, a snapped electrical cable between the Rawang and Kuang KTM stations also caused track closures for 2 days. On the 21st of August, the derailment of a cargo train at Jalan Kuching also caused delays for a few days. And this does not include the numerous times where trains have been delayed because of so-called technical problems.
A simple glance at the feedback to @ktm_berhad’s twitter account and also the KTM Komuter’s complaint board will show the many frustrations of KTM Komuter users. It is ironic that billions of ringgit have been spent on the MRT and yet, the services of KTM Komuter, which has more than a hundred thousand users per day (when there are no service disruptions), continues to be sub-par and plagued by major disruptions which seem to be happening more frequently.
SPAD’s twitter account (@SPADChannel) tweeted that the CEO of SPAD, Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah, visited the site of the train derailment yesterday. SPAD also issued a press statement yesterday to instruct KTM to cease its cargo operations from Rawang to Salak Selatan until KTM’s investigation into this derailment is completed. I commend SPAD for its quick response and I urge SPAD to follow through to ensure that KTM reimburses the affected passengers so that they do not have to pay extra by taking the MRT as a result of the suspension of KTM Komuter services at the affected stations.
But SPAD must do more. It must not leave the investigation of the most recent cargo train derailment solely to KTM. SPAD itself must lead the investigation and make public the findings in the interest of transparency.
The Transport Minister, Dato’ Seri Liow Tiong Lai has been conspicuously silent throughout all three major disruptions involving KTM services. May I remind the Minister that KTM is still under the purview of his Ministry and that he should take responsibility for these disruptions. I also want to remind the Minister that we are still waiting for the establishment of the Malaysia Transportation Safety Board (MTSB), a statutory body which is supposed to carry out independent investigations of accidents for all modes of transport including rail accidents. This act to establish this statutory body was supposed to have been in the ‘finalisation’ stages way back in December 2016 but till today, we have not seen any sign that this act will be tabled in this parliamentary session. If this statutory body had been established this year, it could have been tasked with investigating these recent derailment accidents. But because of the ineptitude of the Minister, we are left pointing fingers and none of us being any wiser as to the cause of these accidents and how to prevent them in the future.