Lorry accidents in Malaysia – do we need stricter inspection, enforcement to keep CVs roadworthy?

Lorry accidents in Malaysia – do we need stricter inspection, enforcement to keep CVs roadworthy?

It’s the stuff of nightmares. A big truck spearing into you from behind, pinning your car into the vehicle in front. A very bad way to go. That actually happened on Monday afternoon, except that the hero survived unscathed.

If you somehow missed it, two days ago, a yellow Myvi was struck by a truck and pushed into a row of cars queuing at a traffic light on Jalan Ipoh, KL. Those familiar with the area would know that it’s a downhill stretch from the Jalan Duta flyover, in front of the landmark yong tau foo restaurant.

The SUVs in the affected lane were pushed on to a tree, and the Myvi was sandwiched badly, leaving just a tiny capsule of a cabin. Miraculously, the driver didn’t just survive the crash, he actually climbed out of the mangled car with just minor injuries to his face. He was sent to HKL for treatment. Occupants of the other vehicles and the lorry driver were not injured. Our Myvi man truly cheated death with this one. Or maybe it was Spidey…

Lorry accidents in Malaysia – do we need stricter inspection, enforcement to keep CVs roadworthy?

According to KL traffic investigation and enforcement department (JSPT) chief Sarifudin Bin Mohd Salleh, the lorry driver was taken into custody and has since tested positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine. He was remanded for four days starting September 7.

So, he was driving under the influence of drugs, but was that also a brake failure? The lorry certainly barged into the Myvi at rather high speed, judging from dashcam footage. If it was indeed a brake failure, this would be one of many incidents where faulty brake have been cited as the reason for an accident involving a heavy commercial vehicle or bus. How safe and roadworthy are these giants roaming all around us?

Rules and regulations

It may seem so when you see a crazy big truck zooming past, but it’s not a lawless world when it comes to commercial vehicles. In fact, owners of CVs need to go through plenty of hassle compared to private vehicles. As we don’t have the UK-style annual MOT test here, the average car owner will only need to step foot into Puspakom when he needs to sell the car, as an inspection and B5 report is needed by JPJ for tukar hak milik. Most owners use runners for this task.

Lorry accidents in Malaysia – do we need stricter inspection, enforcement to keep CVs roadworthy?

In contrast, before a commercial vehicle can be registered, it needs to undergo an initial inspection at Puspakom, and this requires a lot more documents than what we’re used to – sales letter, certificate of manufacture, vehicle type approval, vehicle plan, weight certificate and copy of business registration (SSM) are among the documents needed.

Depending on the type of CV, you might also need to furnish an approval letter for modification, APAD approval offer letter, certificate from DOSH and a green engine cert from Sirim.

With the PG11A initial test report, plus the PG13B for buses, one can then proceed with the application for licensing with JPJ. Then, there’s routine inspection, which is once a year for the first two years, and every six months thereafter. Time flies, and before you know it, you’ve got to spend a whole day at Puspakom again.

Lorry accidents in Malaysia – do we need stricter inspection, enforcement to keep CVs roadworthy?

The periodic inspection includes identification (weighing and measurements only needed during initial inspection), above and under carriage checks, emission test, side slip test, suspension test, brake test, headlight test, speedometer test and of course, the test synonymous with Puspakom – the tinted glass test.

The brake test is to measure the efficiency and imbalance of the brake system, and is performed via a bench test or a dynamic test using a portable brake tester (decelerometer). The parking brake is also tested.

The brake test is one of the most important components of the periodic inspection, and if a CV fails the test, it will be automatically blacklisted and the results will be sent to JPJ. The owner will have to rectify the issue and upon repair, obtain JPJ permission for re-inspection. By the way, other test failures aren’t referred to the JPJ (just repair it and schedule a re-inspection), but only brake test fails.

The lorry that caused yesterday’s accident looks like a typical tipper truck serving construction sites by carrying soil or debris. The number plate – if it was indeed registered to this vehicle when new – indicates that this is a relatively young truck registered in 2018.

By now, it would have needed inspection every six months, but there have been some leeways given lately due to the extraordinary pandemic circumstances we’re in. Just like our road tax, lesen and Puspakom B5 reports, CVs due for inspection were also given a grace period by the authorities as Puspakom and JPJ had to close during the lockdown. They’re all open now, but operations have been start-stop at many outlets due to Covid outbreaks and subsequent sanitisation.

Maintenance and enforcement

Lorry accidents in Malaysia – do we need stricter inspection, enforcement to keep CVs roadworthy?

Whatever the inspection records of that lorry – if vehicle malfunction was indeed the cause – there are other aspects to look at when it comes to ensuring heavy vehicles are roadworthy. Outside of inspection, vehicles need maintenance as they pile on the miles and parts get worn, what more for commercial vehicles doing heavy duty jobs daily.

Inspection or not, goods-carrying vehicles must be maintained according to mileage, just like cars. While we can imagine the big corporations with professional fleet management teams adhering to proper maintenance schedules (hopefully), all business owners should ensure that their vehicles are well-maintained and roadworthy. After all, in the long run, a well-maintained vehicle will provide years of reliable service.

While we do have inspection (Puspakom says that its tests are consistent with international standards as per guidelines set by the International Motor Vehicle Inspection Committee) and regulations, enforcement is another matter altogether. If enforcement is not at a high level, compliance will naturally be low, as people will think that they can get away with it. Conversely, if there’s a high chance that running a unroadworthy or borderline faulty vehicle will hurt its owner’s pockets, few would take the risk – think the fine city that is Singapore.

If non-MCO related enforcement activities took a back seat over the past one and a half year, perhaps JPJ should resume normal service if they haven’t already done so, now that traffic volume is pretty much back to normal. I know with some personal pain that the traffic cops are back to issuing parking tickets after a long break.

The most important safety equipment

Lorry accidents in Malaysia – do we need stricter inspection, enforcement to keep CVs roadworthy?

When dashcam footage of the shocking Lorry vs Myvi accident surfaced, everyone’s assumption was brake failure on the giant’s part, and that could well be the actual cause of the accident. However, police later revealed that the 25 year-old lorry driver tested positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine.

Drug use among commercial vehicle drivers is not a new issue – in fact, it surfaces almost every festival season when express bus drivers are caught driving under the influence. Over the years, there have been many bus accidents, too many to remember.

Frequently cited reasons for drug use among bus drivers is fatigue and the need to stay alert. A booster drug might help them squeeze in more trips, which in turn brings in more pay. Who’s to blame is a story on its own, although the industry denies it and lays blame on the individual.

Lorry accidents in Malaysia – do we need stricter inspection, enforcement to keep CVs roadworthy?

Speaking to FMT in March, Association of Malaysian Hauliers immediate past president Nazari Akhbar said drug use is a general community problem, and isn’t specific to the sector. “We don’t deny that there are some drivers who get involved with drugs, but based on my experience in the industry, the percentage is very small. For those who get into drugs, it’s not due to work pressure but their own attitude.

“The haulage industry handles 24 million shipping containers a year. If the industry is plagued with drug problems, I don’t think we can deliver so much around the nation,” he said, adding that low wages isn’t an issue as lorry drivers could earn up to RM8,000 a month.

In the same report, Pan-Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Mohamad Ashfar Ali told the news portal that the issue of bus drivers resorting to drugs to put in extra hours is moot, as they are given fixed schedules. He said that drivers were not allowed to work more than eight hours a day. Ten hours is possible, but with a two-hour break.

Lorry accidents in Malaysia – do we need stricter inspection, enforcement to keep CVs roadworthy?

Click to enlarge

Ashfar lamented that bus fares are fixed by the government and the last increase was in 2009. “If we don’t increase the fares, how will we pay higher wages? Cost of operations has gone up, terminals keep increasing their fares and there are fewer passengers now too,” he said.

If it escaped you, stiffer penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs (DUI) kicked in last year. In August 2020, amendments to Sections 41 to 45 of the Road Transport Act 1987 was read, tabled and passed by the Dewan Rakyat, and the Senate passed the bill in September. This was following some high profile DUI cases that happened during the MCO.

For DUI causing death, it’s now jail from 10 to 15 years and a fine of between RM50k to RM100k for the first offence, and you’ll also lose your licence for at least 10 years. This is a substantial increase from the previous three to 10 years jail sentence and RM8k to RM20k fine. Also, reoffenders now get a heavier punishment, compared to more of the same previously.

Click to enlarge

By the way, for a commercial vehicle driver to renew his vocational driving licence – which includes the GDL (goods driving licence) for lorries, and PSV (public service vehicle license) for public transport operators and e-hailing drivers – he/she needs to pass a medical exam. The doctor will check for visual, otorinolaryngology, neurological, musculoskeletal, psychiatric, cardiovascular, respiratory and renal disorders, as well as for signs of drug and alcohol abuse/dependency.

All these shows that the laws and safeguards already exist, whether for the vehicle or the driver. It’s a matter of zero leakage in getting things passed, and enforcement on the road.

Cars weren’t designed to be rammed from behind

Lorry accidents in Malaysia – do we need stricter inspection, enforcement to keep CVs roadworthy?

Surely everyone would agree that it’s nothing short of a miracle that the Myvi driver escaped unscathed. While crashworthiness has improved greatly over the years, passenger cars just aren’t designed to be rear ended at speed. Frontal yes, side sure; but the rear, it’s just not a thing

Manufacturers develop cars to pass crash tests, and ASEAN NCAP counts the frontal offset crash test, side impact test (introduced in 2017) and head protection technologies. The IIHS in the US has a roof strength test for rollovers. Rear safety tech such as reverse sensors/camera and rear cross traffic alert (RCTA) – which can be combined with auto braking – are designed for low speed fender bender avoidance.

Not only is there no specially designed crumple zone at the back as there is in the front, hatchbacks don’t even have a boot for distancing. Closer still are the heads of third row passengers in seven-seat MPVs and SUVs to the tailgate – there’s no buffer and we’re sitting ducks.

Fortunately, incidents like this are much less common than front and side crashes, and protection from those impacts are higher than they’ve ever been, even in the affordable end of the market. For instance, in the latest ASEAN NCAP 2011-2015 protocol, the Perodua Ativa scored the full five stars across all four tested categories – adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, safety assist and motorcyclist safety, the latter taking into account blind spot monitoring and pedestrian protection. Just don’t get rammed from behind.

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Danny Tan

Danny Tan loves driving as much as he loves a certain herbal meat soup, and sweet engine music as much as drum beats. He has been in the auto industry since 2006, previously filling the pages of two motoring magazines before joining this website. Enjoys detailing the experience more than the technical details.



  • plenty of CVs spewing THICK BLACK SMOKE and overloading on the road…most of CVs are clearly old and not road worthy.
    we know how the inspection and enforcement works here…most business wud just bribe away to get the lorry pass

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 2
    • Chavez on Sep 08, 2021 at 2:48 pm

      Bribery isn’t a problem in puspakom cv inspection, the issue are stem from owners that ‘makeup’ their cv prior to half yearly inspection, typically they would fit on good working spareparts for inspection and after passing would replace back with the badly worn parts and they then rotate these good parts amongst their fleet of trucks waiting its turn for inspection. Greedy and selfish owners are the real problem here.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 1
      • kosumaledoko on Sep 08, 2021 at 9:17 pm

        I’ve seen this first hand at a workshop. Owner of a van want to replace his tires and brake parts with new one for inspection. Guess after inspection he will replace back the worn parts and continue trucking. I think greedy and selfish business owner are to blame for this.

        As for the drugs, I once heard my friend who is working on construction ground said, he would be more worried if the truck driver didn’t take drugs, they will be sleepy. I think it’s the bad norm in the industry for ages, where driver are expected to drive long hour to deliver stuffs.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1
        • Avenger on Sep 09, 2021 at 10:41 am

          Driver with drug problems are also due to greedy operators forcing them to drive long hours so they take shots to stay awake. Sometimes they are burdened with a chain of deliveries one after another without proper rest hours.

          The main problem here isn’t the drivers, or JPJ, or Puspakom, or the laws, or the enforcement, or the Government. It is the FREAKING RICH GREEDY OPERATORS!!!!!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2
        • Kodomo on Sep 09, 2021 at 10:47 am

          Have you think about why only greedy CVs and selfish business survived and stay in the game? Is it due to selfish consumer that don’t care how the goods are send and make? Same goes to our pollical scene. Blaming cant move fwd. Tell our friends, start our self, choose and buy from local business. Not by skin color or price.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
  • Thinking on Sep 08, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    Malaysian CV are well regulated.

    It’s the driver issue on Drugs. Don’t create unnecessary panic.
    Maybe somebody want all CV driver testing for Drugs Biweekly like Covid19 RTK Biweekly?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 8
    • DUI is partially the problem but not the big picture. Spend about 3 hours driving on any highway and you’ll see
      1) overloaded lorries
      2) lorry tyre debris on the road (after their tyres exploded)
      3) lorry broke down by the side of the road
      4) lorry accidents
      Most companies generally don’t care about safety for their workers, some of them don’t even have licence.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0
      • Avenger on Sep 08, 2021 at 10:59 pm

        Poor driver gets the bad rep but the root cause
        1) Greedy operators force the truck to carry more
        2) Greedy operators skimp on replacing parts
        3) Greedy operators poorly maintain them
        4) Greedy operators force drivers to go long trips

        If want to enforce, it is not on the road but in the offices of these greedy operators.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1
        • Die One island failed to become a global recognized country on Sep 09, 2021 at 11:35 am

          Greedy boss will always pick secretary or any admin employee as scapegoat, at the end greedy boss walks free as usual.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
  • Bieight8 on Sep 08, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    This is why all commercial vehicles need to be electronically limited to 50kmh and mandate to have aeb while having a maximum ages of 7 years

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1
  • Lennon Lee on Sep 08, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    Malaysia has plenty rules and regulation for road usage and safety.

    What is (shamely) inadequate is enforcement by the authorities. As the saying goes “When the cat is not around, mice dances around”. Also, “kopi marney” always find its way.

    When accident happens, knee-jerk reaction starts from netizen, NGO, politicians, etc…..and later much will be forgotten. Vicious cycle continues.

    I am sure this recent incident isnt the first, and definitely not the last.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2
  • Truckers on Sep 08, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    Since we’re in the business of pushing more safety gadgets into passenger vehicles, why not advocate for the same on commercial vehicles? Conti brands ie Volvo & Scania are now selling trucks with options for ADAS, there is only so much self enforcement can do as we very well know in Malaysia we are a bunch of simpleton idiots who seek to find ways not to comply when the authorities are not looking. Like small kids in playground, it is teachers and administrators fault when we bully other kids. It is never our fault.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0
  • macampondan on Sep 08, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    stricter inspection is useless if songlap still available.

    stricter public punishment i.e. piblic trial, jail term and fines to driver and lorry company directors will be better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0
  • Lanhb on Sep 08, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    I think it’s more on stricter reinforcement of where lorries can go, on why type of roads (is there a category for road types, like A, B?). Being bigger/wider/heavier vehicles, only certain types of roads can accommodate them, at the same time avoiding untoward incidences involving other road users. Lorries can therefore go only on roads which can accommodate them and not endangering others.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • Henry on Sep 08, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    Don’t forget the nut at the wheel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • pomen on Sep 08, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    poor enforcement…ada duit semua setel tepi. when there is an accident, everybody kecoh. after few month then krik krik again

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0
  • Mickey on Sep 08, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    Don’t limit to CV’s. The key is ENFORCEMENT for all drivers and vehicles including JPJ and MIROS playing a sincere and passionate role, not talk only. We can have everything the best, without ENFORCEMENT, nothing will change. And looking at Where we are now, change is not going t come by…….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • Was hit by an express bus from behind at a standstill position waiting for the traffic light to turn green many years ago. The bus brakes wasn’t working. Lucky enough only the back of the car bumper was damaged. Bus was loaded with passengers. Worst still, the driver continued to drive on with the passengers from Klang to Melaka with that faulty brakes. They cornered me behaving like big bullies when I stepped down to discuss the next course of action and of course I wanted to lodge a police report. They were offering all sort of other options which I decline to accept. The problem stems from lack of enforcement, rampant bribery, greedy companies and most importantly lack of self responsibility of the drivers that many are on substance abuse…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0
  • Corrupted on Sep 08, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    I don’t believe that these drivers and their company is following any regulations not the regulators are enforcing without corruption.
    My cousin works as a driver and stories that I hear deters me from public transportation. Many don’t resort to drugs just to keep them awake but are drug addicts. Bonus of these drugs is that you’re able to “layan” while working.
    In Sabah, most of the bus and truck drivers are on it. It’s known, and yet in the terminals you won’t see an enforcement there.
    Money is king.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1
  • John Doe on Sep 08, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    Puspakom knows the issue here.
    They whole inspection process is pointless when the owners change the parts right after the vehicle is inspected!
    JPJ should report the condition of the truck’s overall braking system and whether it is possible for the system to deteriorate to such extend in 6 months.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
  • Nothing will change..every time big accident like this happened..all the hoohaa…and back to square 1 again..everything forgotten…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  • Mr. Sotong on Sep 08, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    I don’t have the stats but I am sure if someone does the study, they will find that accidents due to brake failures have increased since we started to allow reconditioned trucks from China to be used here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5
  • SweetPotatoes on Sep 08, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    Lack of enforcement and lots of bribery. change law also no use. Its the people with the badge that can only change this. Rakyat ultimately suffer only become sandwich like abang myvi.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • The solution is integrity. Do you hear sewa tayar service in front of PUSPAKOM prior to inspection?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Danial on Sep 08, 2021 at 4:10 pm

    Like almost all of the comments here, I concur very much on the need for greater enforcement. This isn’t just limited to CVs but every other category and facet of Malaysian driving and transportation.

    Look to other more developed countries (I know, we’re all sick of comparing ourselves to counterparts like Singapore but if there’s a model for us to strive towards, why not?) and you can see how far we are lagging behind. Why are there plenty of overweight trucks on the road, contributing significantly to potholes and uneven roads? Why are there drivers who double park, when there’s plenty of vacant space? Texting while driving, absent turning signal, langgar lampu merah, the list goes on..

    It’s been 64 years since independence. We can do better. So please, authorities, do better!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  • seancorr (Member) on Sep 08, 2021 at 4:23 pm

    Stricter enforcement? Heck they aren’t doing anything until disaster strikes so better to check what our enforcement officers are doing in the first place. The laws currently in effect are already good but lack of enforcement makes it useless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • Los Lobos on Sep 08, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    Enforcement will definitely up, up, up and sky-high if VVIP involved in accident. Siap dengan “Aku janji” slogan by authorities.

    Remember last time Menteri Khairi jatuh basikal becoz of pothole? Fuh, superfast overnight action tampal lubang, plus “minta maaf” & hospital visit by authorities bosees.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
  • Dream125 on Sep 08, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    “Inspection or not, goods-carrying vehicles must be maintained according to mileage, just like cars.”

    Nope. As lorries over 3.5 tons usually use air brakes, they have to be BETTER maintained. The condensed water in the air storage tank will SURELY cause brake malfunctions if not regualary maintained.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  • To save time, they should allow manufacturers own service centres to check for road worthiness during regular servicing.
    And then pass the report to puspakom or jpj for continuation. Manufacturers reputation on the line if they provide false reports and considered a criminal breach of trust, can be charged and jailed. This will save maybe several days a year from having to do inspection at puspakom, which is a monopoly.
    All these monopolies caused lorry and bus owners downtime plus extra cost.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • msia driver on Sep 09, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    that why in 1st world countries all lorries are banned on city roads

    lorries and passenger car must use separated road each other..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
  • Amir zaki rathi ishak on Sep 10, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    The problem is corruption at puspakom. While waiting for testing, these syndicates , working with puspakom personnels come and ask for money. Corruption is rife at puspakom centres. I was ask for money, i just said given directly to a ‘ fictitious’ puspakom personnel already. Then he went to other lorries. We, pay a lot to fix defects on pur lorries but others , as long as they pay are let off easy. Have police on standby at waiting lanes & chk back on their system at puspakom

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • Ganesan on Aug 05, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    Total failure of the Government and multiple agencies who are supposed to be Accountable. The blame game and ignoring the root cause is another factor. Consolidate the Accountable agencies and make the Heads of the same responsible to provide answers. Corruption is inbred and a dead end story. Pray hard before driving.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Paul Leow on Dec 14, 2022 at 4:44 pm

    The elephant in the room is the culpability of the owner of the CV. If it is a transport company like a bus company or construction firm, make them responsible for the acts of their employees. Triple the penalties for non-compliance with regulations including the fitness of both the CV and that of their drivers to drive the vehicle. Make it punitive for them if they disregard road worthiness of both vehicle and driver so that they realize that the Government means business as a matter of policy for the safety of the public.As for the driver, if lives are lost make custodial sentences mandatory. Cancel their driving licence and bar them from ever driving again. Clamp down on corruption of the enforcement agency by offering rewards for successful arrest and prosecution of bent enforcement officers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Phang M M on Dec 15, 2022 at 6:09 pm

    All truck drivers should umdergo drug test (to check whether they are high on drugs.
    Alcohol breath testing is also important . We do not want our loved ones to be killed by reckless drivers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • solutionhere on Dec 19, 2022 at 1:46 pm

    make it a requirement that all CV be equipped with tamper-proof telematic devices. too many CV driving recklessly and over the speed limit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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