KUALA KUBU BARU: The driver of the double-decker bus that crashed along the Batang Kali-Genting Highlands road here, killing three Thailand Provincial Electricity Authority (TPEA) employees, was fined RM7,500 yesterday after he pleaded guilty to careless and inconsiderate driving.
A magistrate’s court here fined 22-year-old Anithep Duangrueang, from Amper Songkhla, Thailand, after he admitted that he was careless in controlling the bus and causing the accident at Km13 Jalan Batang Kali-Genting Highlands at 10.20am on Nov 19 last year.
The offence carries a maximum fine of RM10,000 or a year’s jail under Section 43 (1) of the Road Transport Act 1987.
According to the facts, the Thai national lost control of the bus while negotiating a turn at a slope while heading towards Batang Kali from Genting Highlands. As a result, the bus swerved and crashed, landing on its right side.
The bus was carrying 47 Thai passengers and one Malaysian at that time. Twenty-one passengers were severely injured.
Among those reported dead were TPEA managing director Decha Nilmanee, 59.
Anithep, who was not represented, had earlier asked the court through a Thai interpreter to impose a minimal fine on him as his monthly income was only about RM1,000.
However, prosecuting officer Insp Syamsul Bahrin Ahmad pressed for the maximum sentence, saying the case was of public interest and involved Thai nationals.
“The sentence must serve as a lesson not just to the accused but also to other bus drivers so that they would be more careful,” he said.
Magistrate Aminuddin Mustaffa ordered Anithep to either pay the RM7,500 fine or serve a seven-month jail sentence.
The bus driver paid the fine.