THOSE in the tourism industry should adopt and implement good occupational safety and health (OSH) management practices to help reduce the number of accidents and health problems in the sector.
The recent incident where 12 people were injured when part of a jetty on Pulau Anak Tikus, Langkawi, collapsed on Oct 29 again highlighted our poor maintenance and safety culture.
In the 1.50pm incident, a group of 40 tourists, including from Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, were walking on the jetty when it suddenly gave way. They had just arrived at Pulau Anak Tikus, a popular destination known as Fossil Island. The authorities responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the said jetty must be held accountable for the incident. The incident is a wake-up call on the need to conduct maintenance checks on all tourism facilities and amenities on Langkawi.
OSH for tourism industry must be practised for the safety of all. Jetties, especially wooden ones, must be frequently checked and safety audits done regularly. Such facilities are vulnerable to wear and tear due to frequent use, the weather and the corrosive sea water.
This latest incident clearly shows that safety and health procedures were overlooked. The relevant authorities were negligent. Safety audits were definitely not carried out, or this would not have happened. Both federal and state governments should direct all relevant authorities and agencies to undertake safety audits of all jetties and other facilities and address the poor maintenance culture to prevent a recurrence.
Funds should be allocated to repair and upgrade existing facilities for tourists, including jetties. Allocate more funds to the relevant government departments and agencies so that they are able to carry out the necessary maintenance checks.
Over the years, the government has spent billions on the development of infrastructure and facilities for the country but what is regrettable is the lack of maintenance and commitment to safety. This has to be rectified and every effort must be made to inculcate the culture of maintenance and safety.
Poor maintenance and safety culture in Malaysia can lead to unnecessary accidents which are a reflection of the Malaysian malaise, clearly manifested in inferior quality work, poor execution, inept management, poor maintenance and lack of ethics and integrity.
Malaysia should no longer be known as “having first-world infrastructure but with third-world mentality”.
Improving a country's image and safety culture is not only the responsibility of the government, but also the duty of every citizen.
TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE