Daily Express
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Bus fire due to toilet ruling

Published on: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah Express Bus Operators Council (Seboc) has proposed the abolishment of the mandatory requirement by the State Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) for a toilet to be installed in express buses in Sabah.

Chairman, Dato' Donald Hanafi said at the moment express buses in Sabah and Sarawak are required to be installed with toilets but the authorities have found it not necessary for express buses in Peninsular Malaysia.

Seboc was making the call in light of Monday's incident where an express bus caught fire at Kilometre 78 off Telupid-Beluran by-pass believed sparked by a passenger who was smoking in the bus toilet.

"We want to avoid incidents such as this. In fact, it is an eye opener for everyone because we don't know what people are doing inside there and we cannot bar people from going to the toilet," he said.

Donald said another downside was the odour from the toilet, which could be unbearable in a fully air-conditioned bus.

"We are doing our best to keep the facility clean but we cannot help it when it is being used one after another by the passengers resulting in the bad odour," he said.

According to him, in Peninsular Malaysia, since express buses were not fitted with toilets, the passengers were well disciplined to relieve themselves at the designated resting stations.

"This is another aspect that we in Sabah need to look at. We do hope that the government would consider building more government rest and recreational (R&R) stops along the express bus routes," he said, adding that there was no government R&R in Sabah.

Donald said apart from the requirement for toilets, the others imposed by the CVLB before express bus permits are issued are that it must be fully air-conditioned and must not be tinted.

"We would making an official representation to the CVLB for a standardised regulations between West and East Malaysia," he said.

In Monday's incident, the fire broke out from the toilet of the bus located at the rear.

It was also reported that case was being investigated by Section 435 of the Penal Code for mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage to any property.