The tragedies at Batu Tiga toll plaza

February 25, 2018 @ 1:42PM

OVER the life of the Batu Tiga toll plaza, which began operations in 1993, billions of ringgit in toll were collected.

But tragically, after the toll plaza was closed down at midnight on Jan 1 this year, four motorists still paid the ultimate price for going through it. It wasn’t RM1.10, which was the last toll rate for passenger cars; they paid with their lives.

The unused toll plaza, with its assortment of concrete barriers and steel beams, claimed the lives of two friends in an accident on Jan 15, while another was injured.

Another incident occurred soon after on Feb 19, when the car Fathurezza Khoirul Huda Halimsuyto, 31, and Noor Hidayah Mohamed Rezmi, 27, were travelling in rammed into the pillar of the toll plaza, killing both, according to Bernama.

They had earlier celebrated Noor Hidayah’s birthday.

Their car was reduced to a mangled wreck in the accident.

Bernama reported that many highway users had previously voiced their concerns over the dangers posed by the Batu Tiga toll plaza.

They had urged the authorities to expedite the demolition of both the Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau toll plazas.

The risk posed by the unused toll plazas with their solid concrete barriers to speeding cars was known.

And yet, they had remained there.

On Wednesday, work to bring down the Batu Tiga toll plaza finally commenced.

“Users should be aware of the road conditions when going through the toll plaza which is in the process of being demolished. The demolition process may take up to three weeks or a month. Road users need to be careful, especially at night,” said Road User Association chairman Mohammad Hisham Shafie.

But, four people would have still been alive if immediate action had been taken to remove the toll plaza, which was clearly a safety hazard.

Quick action to rectify dangers on our roads can help save lives. Those responsible for ensuring the safety of our roads bear a heavy burden as the lives of others depend on their quick action.

But what would it take for them to act swiftly?

Sometimes, it seems, extraordinary measures are needed.

On Tuesday, it was reported that a parliamentarian, a deputy minister in fact, had taken to social media to implore authorities to fix a section of road in his constituency.

But it seems his pleas fell on deaf ears.

Unperturbed, Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah posted another set of pictures of him performing prayers next to the pothole.

This time, the road was fixed within 12 hours.

Do we need to go to such lengths to solve the dangers that exist on our roads? It surely seems so.

When will this change?

The incident on Feb 19 at the Batu Tiga Toll Plaza.