GEORGE TOWN: For a family who lost a mother in a hit-and-run, seeing Malaysian drivers break road rules breaks their hearts.
Foo Swee Wah’s daughter, Cheah, 34, felt that pedestrian safety was a severe problem.
“Instead of motorists looking out for pedestrians, it’s the other way around.
“We have ads on road safety and teach it in schools. But children learn by example and follow what their parents do.
“When they see their parents beat the red light, they may point it out. But once they grow older, they follow suit,” she said at their family restaurant in Pulau Tikus.
On April 6 last year, Foo, 58, was hit by a motorcyclist who ran the red light at a zebra crossing in Burma Road, near the Pulau Tikus police station.
The dashboard camera of a car waiting at the red light recorded Foo being in the middle of the zebra crossing when the speeding motorcycle knocked her off her feet. She died 10 hours later in hospital.
The force of the impact knocked the helmet off the rider, but he didn’t stop.
The motorcycle registration number was recorded in the video and police found the culprit when he warded himself at the Penang Hospital with a fractured cheek and chin bones.
The 44-year-old accused pleaded not guilty in court to riding recklessly and is now facing trial.
Cheah said the family had accepted Foo’s death as a course of fate.
“Life has to go on. There is a void, but we are coping.
“We have had good support from friends and relatives,” she said.
Cheah said whenever she drove now, she would be careful because she did not want it to happen to another person’s mother.
“Here, in Malaysia, there is a mind-set where people do not obey road rules and break the law.
“That particular road is one-way, and people tend to speed more when it’s a one-way road.
Foo’s son, who declined to be named, felt that breaking road rules had become Malaysian culture.
“They should start with creating awareness in schools. Parents and the police play a big role too.
“But what we say does not carry much weight. When an accident like this happens, people warn each other to be careful,” he said.
“Then it is forgotten.”