Rail safety: Need to find way
Published on: Thursday, March 22, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Monday's rail horror which claimed the life of a 15-year-old girl at Mile 62 Beaufort-Tenom, will be studied carefully. "This is a very unfortunate incident, sometimes humans when we give advice, the advice goes unhindered," said Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Infrastructure Development Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

"Of course from time to time we face incidences of this kind, where sudden accidents happen, of course part of what happened is due to negligence," he said on the sidelines of the 26th Members of Authority meeting at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru.

"We need to find a way on how to determine if the passengers really know about the rules they must follow while on the train, so we can prevent any such incidences.

"For example, you don't want children to be sticking their heads out the window of moving train or like what has happened here, sitting on the train with legs jutting out.

"A number of things which we need to tighten up so that everybody will share the responsibility of ensuring safety and security on the train," he said.

On railway maintenance, he said, "This is what we always do, because of our uncertain climate, when we repair for example a site where there is landslide and when rain comes, landslide will happen again, so we constantly have emergency works done."

He further said that they are currently thinking of what alternative route can be taken to ensure the rail service will be safer.

"If we can make sure we have hills with no landslides, it is one of the ways, we are also thinking of how to upgrade our rail service.

"Since before the railway runs along the river banks which offers a view of the natural beauty, it attracts many who like to see the river, the hills, people go there for picnic, tourists both local and international go there for the white-water rafting activity…all this we need to take into account," he said.

When told the victim was forced to sit at the train door because the train was full, Pairin said "That's why we need to put it in the reports and discussions."

"It's sometimes difficult, take for example in India, they even have passengers on the roof of the train, back in the olden days, we even bring our chicken up on the train.

"We are not afraid of standing anywhere, I remember back in the days when I go on the Land Rover to return home from Keningau, since all the seats were taken, with the inai-inai (aunties), chicken, vegetables, everything was there, I had cling to the side of the moving vehicle…it was enjoyable despite having to cling to the vehicle.

"But we need to change in line with the modern times, thus we want to look into everything that is necessary for the comfort and benefit of our passengers," he said.

In the tragedy which occurred at 3.30pm, the 15-year-old victim's leg got entangled with a piece of wood while she sat near the train door with her legs jutting out of the train.

The victim was dragged some 50 metres from where she fell and was subsequently pronounced dead by medical officers. - Sherell Jeffrey


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