‘DBKU and contractor must be answerable to fatal accident’

Dr Kelvin Yii in a photo taken at the site of the tragic accident.

KUCHING, Dec 26: Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) and the contractor must be held responsible and accountable for the lack of safety measures at the construction site at Padang Merdeka which is directly linked to today’s fatal accident involving a motorist, said Dr Kelvin Yii.

The victim had reportedly knocked into one of the road barriers before falling into the hole in the middle of the road that is filled with water and reportedly drowned inside.

Yii, special assistant to Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen, said the incident raised serious questions on whether safety protocols or Standard Operating Procedures(SOP) approved by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health were followed by the respective contractors to ensure such unwanted accidents do not occur during construction work.

“The fact that the motorist knocked the barrier and fell straight into the hole shows the possibility of inadequate warning signage before the hole as well as the location of the barrier that was just right outside of the hole.

“According to safety protocols, there should not just be adequate signage, but they must be clearly visible, and barriers must be erected from 10m to 50m from the hole, not just right outside the hole,” Yii said in a press statement today.

Yii, who had visited the accident site to better understand the situation, said there is an urgent need for more signage in the area on top of ensuring adequate barriers in the area to warn oncoming motorists of the risk due to the construction hole in the middle of the road.

“The hole in the middle of the road is like a “death trap” waiting for accidents to happen due to the lack of safety measures taken.”

On top of that, he added, there is inadequate lighting in the area which poses a huge risk especially during rainy days and also at night as it is difficult for road users to see the hole especially when there is low visibility due to rain or when it is dark.

“This is a very serious issue and the contractor and even DBKU can be held for negligence as it is their responsibility to monitor and ensure proper safety measures were properly taken.”

Besides that, there have been public complaints that the construction project is taking too long as the RM8.5-million Kuching city drainage project at Padang Merdeka, which kicked off last year, is only expected to be completed by March next year.

Yii urged an independent investigation to be conducted over the accident and to hold the relevant authorities and contractors accountable.

He also urged for the project to be finished with greater urgency for the safety and convenience of the public especially in view of the safety hazards as well as traffic congestion that it has caused.

“We do not want another young man’s life to be taken during his prime before the relevant authorities take the necessary steps and follow the necessary safety protocols,” he said. — DayakDaily