Monday, March 11, 2002

Mishap Along Jalan Apas Tawau


As reported in the local dailies recently, the stretch of new highway linking Tawau and the New Airport has claimed 16 lives, so far. We are all sadden by this shocking news.

We strongly feel that if precautions were taken these lives could have been saved. Nevertheless, even after the shocking news been highlighted in the news papers, no immediate actions were taken both by the contractor nor the authorities concerned.
Observations on the stretch of road shows that there were no proper nor sufficient warnings to direct traffic. Temporary road signs put up were gone within a short while. Other road signs have been misleading and this further aggravated the already bad situation.

It is the responsibilities of the contractor to ensure that road open to public vehicle is safe to travel. Therefore, the road must always be maintained irrespective of whether it is still under construction or not. The safety of the public must not be compromised just because the road is still under construction.

The contractor and the authorities concerned must also ensure that road open to public vehicle is safe. Since this is a 4-lane highway, one must ensure that at least one side of the road is safe to be opened to public before working on the other side. By opening an unsafe side of road while working on the other is certainly uncalled for. The excuses of rushing for dateline is totally unacceptable.

Off-road heavy vehicle was also found to roam the stretch of roads open to public. This further endanger the safety of road users. The authorities must ensure that the said contractor adhere strictly to rules and regulations and must keep all this off road vehicle away from the general public at all times.

We are also disappointed that the contractors and the authorities concern do not consider at all the pleads of the people living on both side of the highway. Certain stretch of road at mile 8 and 8 ½ was piled up even higher which is unnecessary. At the same time, by lifting the road near Kinabutan has badly affected the people living around there especially the business community. They are now facing and uncertain future and the way the highway is constructed has badly affected their business.

Residents here have complained that there were insufficient u-turns along mile 4 – 6. As there are four schools, namely SMK Jalan Apas, SK Batu Empat, SMK Kinabutan and SRJK (C) Chung Hwa situated along this stretch of road, the inadequate u-turn will create massive traffic jam during peak hours in the morning, noon and evening. The heavy traffic coming from Tinagat will add up to the jam. Such will surely defeat the purpose of the highway which among other things to provide a smooth, safe and fast travelling from Tawau to the New Airport.

We are in no way objecting to the construction of highway nor do we anti development. But we strongly feel that contractor and the authorities concerned must be more caring and willing to listen to the plead of the people. There is no way rushing for the highway but scarify many innocent lives. So far the new highway has already claim 16 lives. I thus ask the contractor and the authorities concerned what are they gong to do to these 16 innocent lives who are victims of carelessness and irresponsibility?

I hope the people of Tawau realise how serious this matter is and must stand up to object to such ‘tidak apa’ attitude. Please do not wait for more catastrophes to happen. Please do not wait for more lives to be taken before we do something. We, or our love ones are all users of the highway. I hope the police will investigate these cases thoroughly and appropriate actions be taken against those responsible. Safety of the public must always be the utmost priority.
We also urge the general public using the new highway to drive carefully.

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