East coast lorry drivers go on strike, blaming JPJ for "unfair punishment" - Not all agree


East coast lorry drivers go on strike, blaming JPJ for

Several demonstrations were held in the past week as part of an ongoing protest against the Road Transport Department’s (JPJ) enforcement regarding cargo overloading, causing disruption in logistics and supply chain especially in the east coast of Malaysia.

According to local media reports, lorry drivers and operators in Pahang and Terengganu are on strike that will last until Sunday (22 Oct) as they feel they are being treated unfairly in regards to overloading issues. This has caused a week-long disruption of supply chains – from construction materials to basic needs such as food and beverages, reported The Edge.

Photo credit: Transport CMR

Secretary general of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Trucking Association (Seklta), Jeff Teh, told the news portal that the call for protest up north is being circulated across the nation. Some of the association’s members have avoided serving the east coast region temporarily to avoid personal issues among drivers due to different views and not sharing the same sentiment.

The Malaysia Trucking Federation (MTF) also issued a statement urging its members to proceed with their normal daily operations and to ignore plans for protests from any parties as the association will not join the cause.

The protest was ignited due to a recent crackdown on logistic vehicles by the authorities, which saw more stringent enforcement put in place by JPJ and Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) across the country.

This follows reports of fatal accidents involving overloaded lorries that shook the nation of late. Take for example the fatal crash in Putrajaya on September 20th involving a seemingly overloaded lorry and 12 other vehicles, resulting in 2 deaths. Another accident on September 1st where a lorry carrying construction material crashed into a Perodua Alza and 3 other cars in Segamat, causing the death of a family of 6, also sparked a call for more stringent enforcement towards logistic drivers and operators.

As authorities upped their operations to further safeguard vulnerable road users, the number of lorries and trucks being seized by enforcement agencies are rising thus putting pressure on logistic companies and their drivers when faced with hefty fines.

Some 500 lorry drivers and operators gathered at JPJ Pahang’s office in Indera Mahkota, Kuantan on Tuesday (17 Oct) as well as at JPJ Ipoh, Perak, following another demonstration by over 1,000 drivers at JPJ Kuala Terengganu on Sunday (15 Oct).

As reported by Utusan, Persatuan Pengusaha Kecil Kenderaan Perdagangan Pantai Timur that organised the demonstration in Terengganu handed over of a memorandum containing eight claims relating to enforcement operations lead by JPJ and PDRM that are considered “rash”, causing lorry operators and drivers to lose their main income.

Some of the claims listed by the association relate to load limit exemption, operating time reduction, summons hand-outs towards manufacturers and miners (consignors), the increase of commercial vehicles’ rent, as well as the abolishment of the demerit points system.

Photo credit: Facebook

The groups on strike are also urging the government to revise the authorities’ enforcement SOP, as the mobile weighing devices used by JPJ officers to evaluate the vehicles’ cargo limit are deemed not accurate.

SekIta and MTF are in favour of resolving overloading issues through productive collaboration with the government. “We also organised a press conference before, our call is for JPJ to consider abandoning mobile weighing facilities for trucks, because they seem less accurate and those permanent facilities that are built along the highways are more accurate, and we don’t mind heading there,” said Teh to the business news portal.