JPJ springs into action following Naim’s concerns

The Borneo Post reports that the Road Transport Department has begun clamping down on trucks which are overloaded with coal and palm oil along the Selangau-Matadeng road. Naim Holdings Berhad, a leading Malaysian property development and construction company, has previously raised significant concerns over the practices and has warned that the current use is unsustainable.

MUKAH: The Road Transport Department (JPJ) leapt into action yesterday by holding road blocks along Selangau-Matadeng Road following a report in The Borneo Post yesterday that overloaded trucks laden with coal and palm oil were destroying the road.

The one-hour operation, which was carried out by four personnel from JPJ Mukah, started at about 9am. They were seen inspecting lorries carrying oil palm fruits and coal.

When contacted, JPJ’s public relations officer Albert Clement confirmed that the department had directed its Sibu and Mukah enforcement units to carry out inspections along Selangau-Matadeng Road following the front-page report.

He said personnel from JPJ Kuching would assist in the operation.

In a recent exclusive interview, Naim Engineering Sdn Bhd appealed to JPJ to clamp down on overloaded trucks plying that road.

Its spokesman said that they had literally reconstructed the road after it was rendered almost unusable for several years by these trucks, but just more than a year after its commissioning, significant wear and tear could be seen.

He cautioned that if the overloaded trucks were not contained, the road, which enables driving time from Selangau to Mukah to be reduced to a mere 45 minutes from two to three hours previously, might be destroyed in less than three years time.

Albert said portable weighing equipment would be used to check trucks for overloading along that road.

“Under Section 19(2) Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987, offenders could be fined up to RM10,000 but not less than RM1,000 or imprisonment of not more than one year or both.”

He cautioned that JPJ would revoke the driving licence of those who breached the law thrice.

“JPJ would also suggest to the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board to cancel the permit of the truck if the vehicle was used in the offence for three times.”

Selangau MP and Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun, when contacted, hoped that JPJ would put in place a long term enforcement plan to ensure the road is safe for road users.

He said he agreed with Naim’s spokesman that JPJ should establish a permanent enforcement unit there by either setting up an office or `pondok’ (beat base).

“JPJ should also look at the long term aspect to ensure that the road is safe for everyone to use and not monopolised by overloaded lorries,” Entulu suggested.

“The current situation definitely needs to be improved.”

Meanwhile, Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said the relevant authorities must take strict action against all overloaded trucks to ensure that all roads would not be unduly damaged.

He said the Selangau-Matadeng Road problem indicated that the relevant authorities, such as JPJ, must act.

“The news highlighted by The Borneo Post and Utusan Borneo is indeed a good effort. I, therefore, think that strict enforcement is needed to all roads in the state to prevent roads from being damaged unnecessarily, apart from guaranteeing the safety of road users,” said Masing.

Several road users interviewed along Selangau-Matadeng Road yesterday said the sight of huge overloaded lorries had grown to become an eyesore and cause for concern.

They said apart from accelerating road deterioration, the situation was also endangering public safety.

Kiri Gundi, 60, said that overloaded heavy vehicles carrying oil palm fruits and coal could be seen frequenting the road daily.

“If they are carrying oil palm fruits or coal, at least make sure that the vehicle is not overloaded. If this goes on, there’s no doubt that this will wear out the road quickly.

“Sometimes the coal will fall off the lorry and this endangers road users. I have personally experienced this when my car screen cracked twice due to fallen coals.”

Kiri pointed out that the long queue of oil palm lorries waiting for their turn to enter the factory premises had also disrupted traffic flow.

Jilie Rantai, 22, said that drivers with small vehicles were at high risk of accidents while using the road.

“If we were on motorcycles, it would be very dangerous as the overloaded coals can fall at anytime from the lorry.”

Another road user, Lia Jelian, 43, said that she had previously crashed into clusters of oil palm trunks that had fallen onto the road.

“My car bumper cracked from knocking into the fallen trunks in the middle of the road. This condition is very dangerous for us road users.

“At the same time, there are also inconsiderate lorry drivers who speed despite carrying more than the permitted limit,” she said.