PETALING JAYA: There are weaknesses in the Road Transport Act 1987 that enabled unscrupulous freight companies to take advantage of their drivers, says Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
The drivers were blacklisted after being forced to carry excess loads by their employers, he added.
He said the Road Transport Department (JPJ) and the Land Public Transport Department (Apad) have been asked to discuss and find a resolution to the issue of summonses handed to lorry drivers found carrying excess loads.
“There are freight companies which force their drivers to carry excess loads. If there is a roadblock, the company will force their drivers not to bring their vehicles to be inspected at the nearest JPJ weighing station.
“This will compel JPJ to blacklist that driver, ” he said in a Facebook post yesterday.
Dr Wee explained that the JPJ and police will issue summonses to these drivers under Section 63 of the Road Transport Act, compelling them to be present for an inspection at a JPJ weighing station.
“If they fail to be present at the JPJ weighing station, the driver will be fined. That is why many drivers refused to (have their lorries) weighed because their employers refuse to pay summonses, ” he said.
Dr Wee said under the Land Public Transport Act 2010 when Apad was known as the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), errant companies could still be fined by the agency’s enforcement department.
“But because they needed to prepare investigation papers, issuing summonses to drivers was much easier.
“The question is whether these drivers are being fined and blacklisted because it is too complicated and troublesome? Is this universal justice?” he added.
In urging patience, the Transport Minister has ordered JPJ, which now enforces the Land Public Transport Act 2010, to review such summonses and draft a new standard operating procedure for enforcement on lorries carrying excess loads.
“Who benefits from overloading? Definitely it’s the employers. Isn’t it fair to place the burden of responsibility on employers or operators instead of on the drivers?
“That is why I asked the Apad director-general to hold discussions with the JPJ and police to find a solution that is fair and just, ” he said.
Dr Wee had earlier met with lorry driver S. Arumugam, who had his driving licence blacklisted after his employer refused to settle such summonses.