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4 theSun | MONDAY JULY 13 2009

news without borders

Storm brings
flash floods
to Penang
Helmet drive sees 7% drop in deaths
MASRY CHE ANI/THESUN GEORGE TOWN: A safety helmet cam-
by Himanshu Bhatt paign by the Road Safety Department
newsdesk@thesundaily.com succeeded in reducing motorcyclist
fatalities by 7% in the first five months
GEORGE TOWN: Strong winds of the year.
lashed parts of Penang, causing The department’s director-general
flash floods and damage to houses Datuk Suret Singh said about 60% of
on Friday night and early Saturday fatal road accidents involved motorcy-
morning. clists, and that about 58% of fatalities
State environment, health, among motorcyclists were the result of
welfare and caring society com- head injuries.
mittee chairman Phee Boon Poh “Previously, the number of motor-
said the unusually strong winds cyclists wearing helmets was only 20%
were brought about by currents in rural areas, 40% in semi-urban areas
influenced by a tropical storm that and 68% in urban areas, but after this
hit the coast of Vietnam. campaign, the figures have increased to
He said the Fire and Rescue about 60% in rural areas, 90% in semi-
Department and other agencies urban areas and 100% in the city,” he
were put on alert throughout the told a press conference after represent-
weekend. ing Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong
The flash floods affected several Tee Keat at the launch of a safety helmet
areas, with Jalan P. Ramlee being campaign for pupils in primary schools
the worst hit. The water reached here.
knee level. The affected residents “We are happy this campaign has
were provided meals by emergency been effective and has had a major
response units from the Penang impact on encouraging more people
Welfare Department. to wear Sirim-approved helmets,” he
A few families had to be evacu- said.
ated from their houses in Perma- Suret Singh reminded motorcyclists
tang Rawa when the water level to buy only Sirim-approved helmets or
rose but the situation returned to those of an internationally recognised
normal soon after that. standard to ensure their own safety.
Phee said that according to the “It is also illegal to wear helmets
Meteorological Department, the
storm was brought about by the Village ceremony that are not approved by Sirim such as
half-shell helmets, and motorcyclists
wearing these could be fined.”
early transition between the South-
west Monsoon and the Northwest He said motorcyclists with half-shell
Monsoon.
Earlier, he visited a house in
J UST three weeks before their
eviction deadline expires, the
villagers of Kampung Buah Pala in
helmets could have these replaced with
new Sirim-approved helmets at any of
Balik Pulau, where the roof caved the department’s offices.
Penang held a ceremony to usher Suret Singh said the safety helmet
in after a coconut tree fell on it dur-
ing a storm at midnight on Friday. in a sixth generation member of campaign for pupils is jointly organised
House owner Chong Chun Loy, their historic community. The entire by the department, the Road Safety Mar-
50, said none of his nine family village gathered to take part in shall Club and Road Safety Council, and
members who were in the house the Tamil ritual of “Walakappu” for is running at primary schools in nine
was injured. His brother, Siew Pin, resident S. Nalani, 30, who is eight states – Selangor, Perak, Terengganu,
42, a contractor, who usually sleeps months pregnant. Nalani’s husband, Penang, Sarawak, Sabah, Pahang, Johor
in the room where the tree tore technician Sashi Kumar, 29, said he and Kedah.
through the roof, was not home at was confident nothing would happen In Penang, about 500 pupils from 32
the time. to the century-old village. “We pray schools took part in the campaign.
Phee said the municipal coun- that next year, we will be celebrating
cils had the right to cut down trees our daughter’s first birthday here,” he
that its officers certified were too said. The viillagers, numbering some
weak or old to stand, even on
private land.
Phee was accompanied by state
300, have been given until Aug 2 by
developer Nusmetro (P) Sdn Bhd to
vacate the land to make way for a
Docs violating confidentiality,
assembly speaker Datuk Abdul
Halim Husin.
development project.
claims union
PETALING JAYA: Some unethi- tor to reveal the workers’ ailment, of doctors.
cal doctors are working with some including present and past medical “The worst was that the employ-
banks to violate the confidentiality of history, with copies to the banks,” he ees were asked to reveal the nature

RazakSAT set for liftoff their workers’ medical records, the


National Union of Bank Employees
(NUBE) claimed yesterday.
told Bernama.
“If the employees refused to sign
the consent they were denied treat-
of their sickness publicly before the
medical leave was approved and
the number of medical chits was
KUALA LUMPUR: The RazakSAT secretary-general (Policy), Datuk Its general secretary J. Solomon, ment. recorded on the workers’ pay slip,”
satellite is all set for a liftoff as Dr Sharifah Zarah Syed Ahmad, and said this was done through the “Once consent was obtained and Solomon said.
scheduled tomorrow from Kwa- senior officials arrived in Guam yes- issuing of conditional guarantee treatment was provided the doctors “This is not only a form of har-
jalein Atoll on the Marshall Islands. terday to witness the launch, via letters by the banks to their panels passed on the records to the man- assment but also a clear violation
Science, Technology and Inno- live webcasting, a statement from of doctors. agements.” of basic human rights and infringes
vation Minister Datuk Dr Maximus the ministry said. – Bernama “Employees seeking medical Besides this, the banks required on their privacy as medical ailments
Ongkili, the ministry’s deputy treatment were issued with guar- the employees to seek approval for are regarded confidential and per-
antee letters which required them medical leave even if they were sonal, which should be respected.
to sign consent authorising the doc- certified unfit for work by the panel – Bernama

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