Another tragic incident took place at the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Elevated Expressway (SUKE) project. Three construction workers died and a road user was seriously injured when a crane launcher tipped over and crashed to the ground. Keep in mind that only three weeks ago, a part of the SUKE highway that was still under construction collapsed and killed two people because of a road accident involving a trailer and the scaffolding holding the unfinished structure up. Also in September of last year, a parapet wall slab of the ongoing highway construction fell and nearly killed a road user; she was lucky enough that only her hand was injured, even if her car was destroyed.
Having all these terrible incidents happen in such a short amount of time (span of six months) should be an indicator to the authorities that something is just not right with how Prolintas (Project Lintasan Kota Holdings Sdn Bhd), the developer of the SUKE highway project, is managing it.
However, the response of Fadillah Yusof, the works minister, to this latest SUKE highway incident was to issue a stop order just at the affected part of the SUKE highway and order the developer to find alternative travel routes for the resident of nearby apartments. Even more shocking is that the initial investigation supposedly showed that the contractor involved had complied with the stipulated SOPs. If so, why did the incident even happen?
It is time that the authorities took drastic measures to ensure the safety of road users and construction workers. The Consumers’ Association of Penang asks that there be a complete stop of work of the SUKE highway project, and authorities need to consider severe punishment for those responsible and in serious cases, mandatory imprisonment.
The authorities should also consider replacing the developer of this project as well as the contractors because with this many incidents, we can only assume that these parties are negligent in terms of safety.
Mohideen Abdul Kader is president of the Consumers’ Association of Penang.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.