‘COME DOWN HARD ON OF­FEND­ERS’

All driv­ers need to be checked again and doc­tors’ li­cences must be re­voked, says NGO

New Straits Times - - News - darlyne@nst.com.my MELISSA DARLYNE CHOW KUALA LUMPUR

JUST how many pub­lic trans­porta­tion driv­ers out there are med­i­cally un­fit? This is the ques­tion that must be on peo­ple’s minds af­ter five doc­tors were charged with cheat­ing yes­ter­day, al­legedly hav­ing signed off on med­i­cal fit­ness tests for ap­pli­cants of Pub­lic Ser­vice Ve­hi­cle li­cences with­out hav­ing con­ducted any tests.

Pas­sen­ger safety is a mat­ter of pub­lic in­ter­est, said Fed­er­a­tion of Malaysian Con­sumers As­so­ci­a­tions sec­re­tary-gen­eral Paul Sel­varaj, and pub­lic trans­port users need to be con­fi­dent that the driv­ers fer­ry­ing them had no health is­sues.

He said this was a se­ri­ous mat­ter that had a ma­jor im­pact.

“We are talk­ing about pub­lic trans­porta­tion here. It is a mat­ter of pub­lic in­ter­est. I re­ally hope the govern­ment and the au­thor- ities come down hard on those who com­mit such of­fences, as the im­pli­ca­tions for the safety of users are far reach­ing,” he told the New Straits Times.

Sel­varaj, of course, could not say whether there were med­i­cally un­fit driv­ers on the road, but he said this was a mat­ter the authorities needed to in­ves­ti­gate thor­oughly.

Stop­ping short of say­ing that it was a scam, he stressed that there must be strin­gent checks on doc­tors who were au­tho­rised to is­sue such health cer­tifi­cates.

“If there con­tin­ues to be bad be­hav­iour among these doc­tors, there should be ac­tion taken against them,” he said.

Con­sumers As­so­ci­a­tion of Pe­nang (CAP) pres­i­dent S.M. Mo­hamed Idris con­curred that the is­sue was a se­ri­ous one, as neg­li­gence could lead to loss of lives.

“Im­me­di­ate ac­tion needs to be taken, and all driv­ers need to be checked again. The li­cences of these doc­tors should be taken away.

“I am shocked that this is hap­pen­ing. What’s more, it is just be­fore Hari Raya. All the more the authorities need to ur­gently in­ves­ti­gate this and get down to (the root of) this mat­ter.

“It is an­other scam. CAP asks that the MACC (Malaysian An­tiCor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion) go af­ter (any other) doc­tors (who may be in­volved),” he said.

In Ge­orge Town, two doc­tors were charged in court yes­ter­day with cheat­ing.

Also charged with them for pass­ing off forged doc­u­ments as gen­uine ones were two men who acted as “runners” for the scam.

In But­ter­worth , two other doc­tors were charged with cheat­ing as well, while in Ipoh, one doc­tor faced the same charge.

All but one of the doc­tors claimed trial to the charges.

The doc­tors face a max­i­mum five years’ jail, a fine, or both, upon con­vic­tion.

The al­leged runners are star­ing at a max­i­mum two years’ jail, a fine, or both.

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