Curb accidents in construction sites now - Act without fear or favour

Corporate figure Dr Liew Boon Horng's sudden and tragic death on 30th December last year has caused a furor among various authorities connected with the construction industry in Malaysia.

With two reports submitted to the cabinet and deliberated on 4th January, it appears that the Malaysian establishment is still not satisfied when a committee under the Malaysian Construction Industry Board was formed to probe into the accident that caused the death of Dr Liew. (The Star, 7 January - Former DG heads panel to probe site accident)

Undoubtedly it is a good practice to get into the root of the problem. But since 2003, it was reported that more than 700 accidents had occurred in construction sites throughout the country. And how many of these accidents have gone through a thorough investigation?

One would expect that with such publicity on Dr Liew's death, the contractors would immediately improve safety measures and the relevant authorities would promptly act to ensure adequate safety practices in all construction sites.

But alas, we never seem to learn from our mistakes. A case in point is the construction of new flyovers and road improvement along the Federal Highway near Motorola and along the road to old Subang airport. Since construction started last year, the sites have been poorly lit at night. They just invite road accidents to happen.

The other day when I was in Saujana Golf and Country Club I was told that in the early morning of 6th January two foreign workers were killed by a vehicle on the unlighted and not fully completed slip road leading to the Club. Unfortunately this fatal accident was not even reported in the local English dailies.

Does it only take to have a fatal accident befalling on a VIP for the authorities to conduct a proper investigation and take remedial action?

An edited version of the above was published in The Star on 11/01/06. 2008