Friday, April 11, 2008


Railway services suspended
Affected residents along railway route to be provided with alternative transport, says CM


The railway services between here and Beaufort have been suspended. Announcing this here yesterday, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman urged the Sabali Railway Department to investigate the accident and take necessary steps to prevent similar mishaps in the future.“What is important here is for the Department or the Infrastructure Development Ministry to ensure the railway tracks are built on a strong formation that is located at a safe distance from the river banks,” he said. Musa said alternative transportation will be provided for the regular railway service users, particularly teachers, students and farmers residing along the 40km railway track between Beaufort and here, as most of the communities there are not accessible by sealed road. He said the Infrastructure Development Ministry will be looking for alternative transportation for them and is now studying the various options available. “We would need to find out about the road routes, dirt tracks or whatever possible links that could help them for now until normal service resumes.” Musa said the Department will be conducting an operation to retrieve the train that fell into the river on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Department said the entire salvage operation will take at least two weeks to complete given the prevailing wet weather conditions and the rugged terrain of the site where the accident occurred. The accident claimed two lives and caused serious injuries to at least three people and minor injuries to 9 others. Yesterday, Musa presented a donation of RM4,000 each to the families of the deceased, while the injured victims received RM500 each. He had earlier visited two survivors who were warded at Keningau Hospital and several other victims at the district hospital here. Musa and his entourage, comprising among others Deputy Chief Minister cum Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Radin Malleh, Tenom Member of Parliament Raime Unggi and State Police Commissioner Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim, were briefed on the incident, yesterday. During the briefing, District Police Chief DSP Mazlan Lazim and State Railway Department General Manager James Wong provided updates on the incident. “I was told that the heavy rain in the past few days had somehow contributed to the landslide. I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the victims’ family members ... this is truly a terrible mishap,” he said. As at yesterday afternoon, effort to check the carriage as well as the 48-ton diesel powered locomotive continued to determine whether there were any passengers not accounted for. Meanwhile, Noor Rashid said thus far there had been no reports about anyone missing after the train plunged into the river. “We are investigating claims that there were some non-paying passengers on board the train on Wednesday, but to date, we have yet to get any missing person report,” he said. He called on passengers who have yet to give their statement on the incident to do so soon. “Go to the nearest police station to make the report,” he said.