PASIR GUDANG, Dec 16 — Lorry operators should abide by the law and not overload their vehicles while on the roads, Anthony Loke Siew Fook said today.
The transport minister warned that officers from the Road Transport Department (RTD), which comes under his ministry, have the right to impose hefty fines against the transporters using any law at its disposal against offenders, including the Land Public Transport Agency (Apad) Act 2010 which provides for stiffer penalties.
“We have our own internal policy on this and the Apad Act will usually be applied to serious cases of overloading which endanger motorists and damage roads,” he told reporters after launching Johor Port Berhad’s milestone shipping volume handling of one million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units for this year.
“Don’t cross the red line. I am very firm on this and don’t blame us for hefty fines,” said Loke.
Pan-Malaysia Lorry Owners Association president Datuk Ng Koong Sinn had cried foul against the use of the Apad Act rather than the RTD Act 1987 that has a lower fine.
Ng claimed the Apad penalties are unduly harsh against lorry operator, and suggested that this could lead to bribery offers and corruption involving enforcement officers.
The Apad Act provides for fines between RM1,000 and RM500,000, a maximum jail term of two years, or both for offenders.
In contrast, both the lorry driver and the lorry operator will get only get a maximum fine of RM2,000 each under the older RTD Act.
Loke explained that depending on the severity of the offence, enforcement officers can even book offenders under both Acts.
The minister said the government has not set any new condition or policy for lorry drivers or operators, but only required them to abide by existing laws.
Last month, several trucker groups nationwide demonstrated against the Transport Ministry, demanding it relax the conditions and penalties imposed against commercial transportation services.
The groups questioned the required medical check-ups for the renewal of commercial vehicle licences and public transport vehicle licences.
They also complained about the high amount in summonses for overloaded cargo, vehicle inspections, roadblocks for inspections and demanded a reduction in demerit points issued offenders.
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