PETALING JAYA: Several shortcomings in the law are being used by transport companies to force their drivers to take the fall for offences that are also caused by them, transport minister Wee Ka Siong said today.
The transport minister admitted that the weaknesses in the Road Transport Act allowed such companies to abdicate all responsibility.
Wee said there were companies which forced their employees to overload their lorries but at the same time instructed them to ignore police summonses which require them to go to the weighing stations when they are stopped at roadblocks.
This results in the Road Transport Department (JPJ) blacklisting and eventually fining the driver, he said.
Wee said while the Land Public Transport Act empowered the authorities to slap these companies with a fine, an investigation paper was needed to be prepared first.
Hence, fining and blacklisting the driver provided an easier way out, Wee said, adding that these blacklisted drivers would not be allowed to renew their licences.
“Is this fair?” he asked in a Facebook post.
“When it comes to overloading a vehicle, who benefits? The employer, of course. Isn’t it fairer to shift the responsibility to the employer instead of the driver?”
Wee said he had since instructed JPJ to review summonses issued to drivers, adding that JPJ would come up with new standard operating procedures to take action against overloaded vehicles.
He went on to say that if the drivers exceeded the speed limit or drove recklessly, then stern action must be taken against them.
“But when it comes to overloading, it was unreasonable for action to be taken against the driver instead of the employer,” he said.
Recently, in a viral WhatsApp message, a lorry driver made an impassioned plea to the JPJ to take pity on lorry drivers who had been blacklisted. He claimed foreign workers were now being engaged to replace them.