PETALING JAYA: There is no reason for children to be out on the streets in the wee hours of the morning and parents should always monitor their activities to prevent them from getting hurt, say experts.
Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) chairman Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon said parents should not allow their children to ride or race with their bicycles or basikal lajak (modified bicycles) on highways.
Commenting on the jailing of clerk Sam Ke Ting over the death of eight Mat Lajak cyclists in Johor, he said: “Parents should stop their children from such dangerous activities because not only will the victim suffer, the family will also if accidents happen.
“This is something that we should not support. The highway is not built for bicycle racing. Extreme bicycle activities should be done in specially designed parks.”
Sam has been jailed for six years over a fatal road accident that resulted in the death of eight teenagers in Jalan Lingkaran Dalam, Johor Baru, at 3.20am on Feb 18, 2017.
MCA spokesperson Chan Quin Er said the MCA Legal Bureau would be contacting Sam’s family to offer pro bono assistance in her appeal.
Lawyer Lim Wei Jiet also said that parents should be more responsible and not let children out as late as 3am.
“The decision puts a huge responsibility on drivers as they must remain careful on the streets even if they have not consumed alcohol and are within the speed limit,” he said, adding that the High Court decision to reject Sam’s stay of execution was disappointing.
“This is especially because she had given her full cooperation and had been freed twice by the Magistrate’s Court.”
The High Court had overturned the Magistrate’s Court decision to acquit and discharge the 27-year-old in October last year.
Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye also said this was a lesson for parents not to let their children roam outside late until the wee hours in the morning.
“There is no reason for them to participate in basikal lajak racing at 3am. The driver was not expecting the children on the streets.
“Did they go out with the knowledge of their parents? What about the parent’s responsibility to keep an eye on them?” he questioned.
Lee said the case must be adjudicated fairly as “it is very serious because eight people have died”.
“If they say ‘reckless driving’, how do they define it? At what speed was the woman driving?
“On the other hand, we never expect kids to be there at that particular time, on a slope, and racing.”
Meanwhile, many comments in The Star Facebook page backed the experts’ opinion and called for more Malaysians to install dashcams in their vehicles.
User Norm Araya said: “In this case, both are wrong. The driver is wrong and so are the children. If the children are still alive, they would be sent for retention if they are underaged. The verdict is acceptable ... (it’s) a serious offence of not just reckless driving but killing 8 lives as well.”
User Hazim Mohamad said: “Better install dashcam for future self defence in court. If you langgar orang (hit someone). You know whole kampung will (go) amok whether you are innocent or not. At least with a dashcam, you have a good chance to defend yourself in court.”