Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Lorries can carry more loads now


From today, Lorries in Sabah are allowed to transport five percent more of their laden weight (berat dengan muatan) without violating the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) Act.

Road and Transport Department (RTD) Director General, Datuk Solah Mat Hassan said the exemption however is temporary and only implemented in Sabah pending the review of the weight restriction order.

The temporary relaxation was agreed on during a dialogue between the Federation of Sabah Lorry Transport Associations (FSLTA), taxi associations, bus associations and other transport parties and RTD, the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB), the Computerised Vehicle Inspection System Centre (Puspakom) and the Police here yesterday.

“For lorries with loads of 10-35 percent more, RTD will issue a compound fine of RM300 while for loads exceeding 35 percent, offenders will be brought to court and charged under Section 19 of the CVLB Act.

“If found guilty, they can be fined between RM1,000 and RM1O,000 or two years’ jail or both,” he told reporters here after the dialogue

Previously, lorry operators were only allowed to carry additional loads of up to only five percent and would be fined RM300 for the 5-30 percent additional loads.

According to Solah, FSLTA had asked that the lorry load in Sabah (34 tons) be upgraded to be on par with those in Peninsular (40 tons).

“For this to happen, we need to review the load restriction order. As such, we have given this temporary relaxation until the review is finalised,” he said adding that the completion of the review depends on how fast the Works Ministry could finalise it and that the relevant quarters had had three meetings already.

Lorry owners with loaders used to - carry heavy machineries can now apply for a special permission from RTD if their cargoes are heavier than the BDM allowed for their vehicles, according to him.

The permission however will be on a case by case basis and not for everyone, he said, adding that by penalizing the transport owners for overloading, the development of the State will be affected.

‘These people are hampered by the low BDM and they cannot transport the machinery one by one as it would cause delay to development projects,” he stressed.
The RTD will prepare the guidelines of the special permission for the lorry drivers.

Solah further disclosed that express bus operators in Sabah had informed RTD that their vehicles had been the target of irresponsible people, resulting in damages.

“This is a peculiar situation where the buses are used as target practice in certain areas. People throw stones at the buses and cause damage to the windows.

“It was agreed today that RTD will not immediately summon the owners of buses with cracked windows providing that the crack is less than six inches. A notice will be issued to the owners to replace the windows within three months failing which they will be served with summonses,” he said.

This is because it takes time to ship the replacement parts to Sabah, he said.

The express buses plying the Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan and Sandakan-Tawau routes are also exempted from the two driver’s laws because distances are just slightly over the 300 km set by RTD and the difficulties faced by the owners to obtain qualified drivers.

Under the law, any bus that travels more than 300 km one way, must have two drivers so that they can take turns driving thus reducing the risk of accidents.
However, express bus operators in Sabah have asked for an exemption because the distance from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan is 330km while from Sandakan to Tawau 320km.

“We (RTD) agree to give the exemption On condition that the driver must break journey every four hours to rest,” Solah stressed.

According to him further, RTD had three months ago, set up an Automotive Engineering Division in its headquarters along Bundusan Road to look into problems of those transport industry.

On the issue of foreigners obtaining Malaysian driving license and the PSV licenses which allow them to operate passenger vehicles, Solah said the problem was highlighted duringthedialogueandhegave his assurance that the matter would be looked into by RTD.