While rear seat belt use has been mandatory in Malaysia since 2009, enforcement has been somewhat lacking but that is about to change, says road safety department (JKJR) director-general Datuk Rosli Isa. Speaking at the launch of the Kawasaki Malaysia Road Safety Campaign 2019, Rosli told media enforcement will be stepped up in 2019, with usage being compulsory come 2020.

Also included in the mandatory use list for Malaysian motorists is child seats for children under age 12 and lap belts for bus passengers. “While the law for use of rear seat belts in cars has been in place since 2009, enforcement has been erratic,” said Rosli.

“This will change by 2020, and the government is serious about it from the standpoint of safety,” Rosli continued. “There is an accident every minute and a fatal accident every 70 minutes,” said Rosli, citing police traffic accident statistics for 2018.

However, enforcement will take a soft approach for 2019. “We want people to get used to the idea that use of the safety equipment in the car, including child seats, is important,” he said.

“This does not mean everyone will get let off easy,” said Rosli, “enforcement officers are doing their job to ensure safety on Malaysian roads, and this requires co-operation from all road users.” Speaking on the issue of motorcyclists being confined to the left lane and speed limited, Rosli said the matter is still under evaluation and no firm decision has been made.

Meanwhile, during the press conference, Selangor deputy traffic police chief DSP Sahimi Husin said Ops Sepadu will be held over the Chinese New Year holidays to crackdown on traffic offences and reduce road accidents. “Ops Sepadu will begin on January 28 and continue till after the holidays on all major highways and federal roads,” said Sahimi.