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Horror in the Cameron Highlands – Bus crash kills 27! (Update #3)

  • Updated with our comments on the politics, excuses, avoidance and inevitable blameshifting!
  • Updated with more articles about the investigation!
  • Updated with more information about the crash!

The members of TRANSIT where shocked to learn of the horrific bus crash in the Cameron Highlands that caused the death of 27 passengers, Thai holidaymakers and Malaysians.

This graphic below from the Star shows how the crash may have happened.

Star Graphic showing the way the crash may have happened - image courtesy of The Star.


Some people may point out that the dead were visitors from Thailand, not Malaysians. They could argue that it could have just been a tragic accident.

We do not care. The dead and injured could very well have been Malaysians on a holiday trip. And we as Malaysians should face a deep shame that visitors to our country have died while attempting to enjoy what our country has to offer.

Are we going to put up a sign at the Malaysian border saying “Enter at Your Own Risk? Or are we as Malaysians, and the leaders who claim to represent us, the government that claims to serve us, going to wake up and fix these problems which have been plaguing our transport industry.

We can only wonder how our Prime Minister Najib Razak can face himself in the mirror, knowing that all of his programmes to improve the quality of life in Malaysia, barely anything has been done to address these terrible tragedies which continue to occur frequently!

We wonder how Nazri Abdul Aziz and the Attorney General’s Office can sleep at night, knowing that a crucial amendment to the Road Transport Act was pulled from the Parliamentary sitting in April of 2010, because some MPs objected to plans that would improve safety for drivers and motorcyclists alike!

We wonder how Syed Hamid Albar, Chair of SPAD and Nor Ismal Kamal, CEO of SPAD could sit by and do nothing between September 2010 (when SPAD was “semi-official”) and today. Could they not at least have warned the bus operators that their day of reckoning was coming and they should improve while they still had the chance?

We wonder how Ashfar Ali, the President of the Pan-Malaysian Bus Operators’ Association, can continue to blame the government and the CVLB for all the problems in the public transport industry, excusing the actions of the bus operators that he represents.

We wonder how our Wakil Rakyat and indeed, the Rakyat themselves can continue to sit by and allow these tragedies to happen? Where are the protests? Where are the calls for action and answers? Where is the accountability and responsibility.

Today we sit at the computer in deep pain, wondering why we have failed another 27 Malaysians. And what is worse is that we in TRANSIT have no idea what more we can do.

If our government, our leaders, our civil servants and our Wakil Rakyat have continued to fail us, what can a group of public transport supporters do?


Wire barriers may be more effective in preventing 'out of control' crashes (Photo courtesy of Brifen USA)

TRANSIT notes that according to the Public Works Department, the road was “up to the mark.”

At least MIROS and JKJR can encourage JPJ and PWD to adopt the use of Wire Rope Safety Fence/Barriers which have been successful in other countries, where cross-median crashes of heavy vehicles with high center of gravity can be avoided with proper cable installation plus sufficient median buffer zones.

The record breaking fatal accident at Sg Pulai is not far different from the previous record breaking accident at Simpang Empat, with high gravity buses went over the median barriers and flipped over to the opposite side.

Also, buses with high center of gravity should not have been permitted to traverse steep mountains with dangerously sharp corners.

For more information about the crash, please see the following articles in The Star:

Initial Articles

The early investigation

The excuses, avoidance, politics & blameshifting

NOTE: As you can imagine, the members of TRANSIT were hoping that this would not happen, but as you can see, it has already started.


12 replies on “Horror in the Cameron Highlands – Bus crash kills 27! (Update #3)”

It’s something we will have to consider.

Perhaps it is better to have a candlelight vigil and prayer session for all those lives lost on Malaysian roads.

I mean, who could object to a candlelight vigil?

Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

Dear Moaz,
I greatly admire the saddened expressions you have given to make me deeply realized how far behind we are in handling foreign affairs. Even if we are to have a candlelight vigil, we would not reach the hearts of the Thai people prolongly or profoundly unless we are assured that we are completely not shut off by the mass media. Even then, if we are partially being exposed to the public of our kind gestures, I don’t think it would promote towards a better diplomatic relationship as both countries are having very severely pressured people opposing their ruling governments. For one thing, the two leaders of both countries graduated from the same country and I suspect they may have similar thoughts to develop a stronger friendship which brings towards stronger communication ties. If you wish I can accompany you to The Thai Embassy to offer our condolences directly on behalf of our country. Please arrange. Thanks for your humble humanity. Thanks again.

For the death of 25 Thai tourists who were here in our country to enjoy our country hospitality, I am deeply ashamed that our country so far are not taking any positive action on the diplomatic front.

Our Tourism Ministry half heartedly got its Deputy Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit to express the ministry’s sadness and sympathy over the incident. I would expect the least our Minister of Tourism Ng Yen Yen to do that. But what about our country’s regret? What is our Prime Minister doing? Wait until an air crash in KLIA with 100 Thais on board killed and satu kali apologise? This shows how serious we are. But I guess our authorities are gleaming that only 2 Malaysian died and one of them can be easily accused for causing their death so case close.

The useless Minister of Transport still owes us the many reports of some past tragic accidents so we just add this one to the outstanding. Like all previous major accidents, it will be long forgotten. Meantime I propose that we might as well put up a sign at our Malaysian borders and the sky saying “Enter at Your Own Risk? as suggested by Transit.

Dear Moaz,
It is great regret that it seems we are unable to make it to the Thai Embassy but nevertherless I am sure there is a kind samaritan that would helps us pass our condolences messages all around. Thank you.

time like this, i always wonder where that Ashfar Ali is hiding… can anybody from radio/tv get him to talk or give comments?!!!

bus permit only for 19 passengers while this one carry more seats..

too many loopholes in the authority..

do the bus undergo routine inspection at puspakom??


As far as we know, the bus did go to its inspection at Puspakom and was approved – perhaps Puspakom workers only inspect vehicles selectively and may choose to ignore certain changes in favour of a nice cup of coffee.

Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

Hi Peeps,
Permits for maximum passenger are given from agencies after recommendation from the manufactures. If people continue to do they want without following regulations then the consequences are predictable. How stupid do these people think the public really are??? when a bus has a permission for a max passenger rating of 19 then increase it to 40 without approval then you are looking for trouble. Not only is the braking system inadequate 4 independent brakes but also the suspension system is also not capable of the extra load. Center of balance is compromised on such a vehicle traveling in such terrain. The authorities are such F**K UPS they want you to think that they were not aware of the modifications even though the bus was inspected every year without fail and no one picked this up. When will Malaysia learn that regulations are there to protect the public and when stupid ignorant primates like the people running this country don’t follow these rules people will die plain and simply. No matter what happens this will continue as the policy makers will not slaughter the cow that feeds them (JPJ & Puspakom)
Does anyone know what happened to the inspectors that were caught taking bribes for Puspakom and JPJ for conducting false inspection?

[…] TRANSIT Says: It could have been worse. We have a lot to learn from near-misses! Imagine if the Transnasional was a double-deck instead of a single deck, and if the bus brushed instead of blasted through the metal guardrail median barrier, the Sani Express incident would repeat by itself. Worse, imagine if there are vehicles coming from the opposite site, and the bus happened to trip over the median, then we would have seen another Simpang Ampat tragedy. Why actions on safety measures are only being considered after fatal accidents occurred – and even then, we only hear news on prosecution of drivers, but not on bus reality check and on safe median barriers. […]

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