FAILURE TO USE CHILD SEATS
KUCHING: More members of the public here are up in arms over the hefty fine for those failing to adhere to the mandatory use of child seats.
Last week, Sarawak Road Transport Department (JPJ) director Mohd Syafiq Anas Abdullah said those who failed to comply would be fined between RM300 and RM1,000 or be hauled up before the court.
If found guilty, the accused is looking at a fine of RM2,000 or six months in prison. The ruling was approved by the Federal Cabinet last December.
New Sarawak Tribune spoke to more individuals to get their thoughts.
Hijjatul Qalilah, 26, a staff of a telecommunications company, said the fine was almost the same as what one would get for speeding or having excessive vehicle window tints.
“It is ridiculously high, not to mention the price for a child car seat. After the announcement, the price of child car seats skyrocketed and no action has been taken,” she claimed.
Hijjatul hoped that car manufacturers would come up with vehicle designs that included child car seats so that the public need not worry about buying one.
Nur Adira, 19, also a telecommunications company staff, said the ruling would affect those in the B40 group (bottom 40 percent income group).
“What if they have a small vehicle and more than two children? Those seats also need to be changed if they start to malfunction or are worn out.
“They should really subsidise child car seats since the price is above RM200 now,” she added.
Aurelia John, 36, a nurse, said the government should consider the economic state of the public, and provide subsidy or incentives for parents, before approving the ruling.
“They (JPJ and the government) should really consider families that can’t afford to buy a child car seat, especially those in the B40 group,” she said.
Nur Fariyani, 33, also a nurse, shared the same opinion.
“The ruling is not consistent enough. What if a mother and her child use a car-hailing/ride-hailing service and they run into JPJ? Who will be responsible?”
Both Fariyani and Aurelia agreed that the ruling was a good initiative to enhance safety of children, but it should have been studied well before being approved.
Uria Usun, 23, a bartender, also said the ruling was good to ensure the safety of children safety in vehicles.
On the other hand, Sim Man Lim, 52, a retiree, said JPJ should be clear, especially about the age of a child that must be in the seat.
“For a toddler, I think they no longer need to be seated in a child car seat as they can use seatbelts,” she said.
Winnie Liew, 25, a food stall operator, said government agencies such as Welfare Department should have been involved.
“When the ruling was approved, the welfare of the family and children is affected, and they (Welfare Department) should play their part,” she said.
Dayang Kamaliah, 40, an entrepreneur, added that the government should give the public a trial phase, and provide free child car seats to those who could not afford them.
“They did not even give the public a chance to practise. Not everyone can afford one right away as every family has its own commitment,” she said.
For the record, Transport Minister Anthony Loke told Dewan Rakyat last Nov 19 that he had directed JPJ not to penalise drivers for the first six months of the new ruling that started this month.
“Instead, the drivers will be issued warnings and reminders to install the seats,” he was quoted as having said.
He also said it was necessary to impose the ruling as a Malaysian Institute of Road Safety study showed that only 30 percent of drivers used child car seats.