Today's newspapers and Malaysiakini reports of a maritime disaster off Mersing where "survivors of a Malaysian ferry fire which left four dead and four injured described a terrifying scene as the ageing vessel filled with smoke, forcing them to hurl their children into the sea". TheStarreports of the ferry Seagull Express that "On Saturday, 4 passengers of the ferry drowned while 99 others, including 3 crew members, were plucked out from the sea after the vessel caught fire while on its way to Pulau Tioman. Three other passengers are still missing."
Sheesh. I have always thought that this sort of thing can only happen in places like the Philippines or Indonesia where they are very relak about safety standards. But here in Malaysia? Obviously heads must roll and as usual the Ministry of Transport will just await reports which will take some time coming.
Fellow mariner Capt Karim comments in my previous blog about the possibility of criminal negligence on the part of authorities and recommends the setup of an independent professional Marine Accident Investigation Board tasked to investigate all marine casualties. This is especially so as in the past, "maritime incidents have been poorly investigated and shortcomings have been simply swept under the carpet. In many cases the guilty were not punished. Innocent lives will continue to be lost at sea if the typical Malaysian lackadaisical 'tiada apa' attitude continues unchecked."
I do concur. Only when innocent lives are lost are the wheels of government usually set to turn. Here I was told that in the case of the PKFZ debacle or the current mess in the judiciary and unlike the Hong Kong BMF scandal where someone, an accountant I believe, was murdered, we can forget about Royal Commissions of Inquiry. Unless someone gets bumped off first, that is.
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